Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tuesday Tuneage
Van Halen - “Dancing in the Street”

Per Wikipedia, the David Bowie and Mick Jagger cover of “Dancing in the Street” had two lead singers, three guitarists, two bassists, one drummer and a variety of other hangers-on who participated in that absolute mediocrity. But three years earlier, Van Halen made some seriously great white funk with the same song using just the four guys in the band being produced by the irreproachable Ted Templeman. The Bowie/Jagger song was produced by the duo of (seriously, I’m not making these names up) Alan Winstanley and Clive Langer, who no doubt were paying more attention to their black pudding and/or bangers and mash than to bother working with a couple of fading postage-prepaid superstars and put out anything that anyone would want to listen to decades later. Some didn’t want to listen to it the following week back in ‘85, either.

RIP Edward Van Halen, 1955 - 2020

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Tuesday Tuneage
The James Gang - “Funk #48”

The James Gang debut Yer Album has an interesting side one. “Take A Look Around” is a possible influence on The Who’s “Pure and Easy,” as they share a similar keyboard part. As recounted by John Swenson in The Eagles: Headliners, Pete Townshend was blown away by the Gang as openers for The Who in 1970. It also features covers of Buffalo Springfield’s “Bluebird” and the Yardbirds’ “Lost Woman.” Not to mention the side starts with a classical-to-folk move and the “funk” song is preceded by a beatnik rap.

Said song is “Funk #48”, because you can’t have can’t have a “Funk #49” without a “Funk #48,” that’s just the way numbering works. As to what happened to Funks one through forty-seven, I haven’t heard. At one of my elementary schools in the seventies, the principal’s name was Mr. Funk and I could have asked him, but I was unaware of The James Gang at the time.