Tuesday, March 31, 2009

“Dominique”

Today in rock history, in 1985, The Singing Nun, Jeanne-Paule Marie Deckers, AKA Sister Luc-Gabrielle ("Dominique") commits suicide. How could this happen, you wonder? Well, in 1967, Deckers left her monastery to continue her musical career under the name Luc Dominique and released an album called I Am Not a Star in Heaven. Her repertoire consisted of religious songs and songs for children. Most of her earnings went to the convent. Despite her renewed musical emphasis, Deckers gradually faded into obscurity, possibly because of her own disdain for fame: she was never able to duplicate the success of her one hit wonder. Her musical career over, Deckers opened a school for autistic children in Belgium. In the late 1970s (mentioned in the July 22, 1978 broadcast of American Top 40), the Belgian government claimed that she owed around US$63,000 in back taxes. Deckers countered that the money was given to the convent and therefore exempt from taxes. Lacking any receipts to prove her donations to the convent and her religious order, Deckers ran into heavy financial problems. In 1982 she tried, once again as Soeur Sourire, to score a hit with a disco version of "Dominique", but this last attempt to resume her singing career failed. Citing their financial difficulties in a note, she and her companion of ten years, Anna P├ęcher, both committed suicide by an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. A disco version of “Dominique?” OMG! If you’ve ever heard that, let me know! So let’s enjoy (if that is truly the word for it) this song one more time, and light a candle for The Singing Nun… thanks to http://www.oldiesmusic.com/cal.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singing_Nun for the info, and keep on rockin’!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

'Cause there ain't no-one…

… for to give you no pain. Today in rock history, on this date in 1972, America hit #1 with "Horse With No Name". Well, this song is really an acquired taste. Sounding a lot like Neil Young with an adenoid problem, singer Dewey Bunnell said "I know that virtually everyone, on first hearing, assumed it was Neil. I never fully shied away from the fact that I was inspired by him. I think it's in the structure of the song as much as in the tone of his voice. It did hurt a little, because we got some pretty bad backlash. I've always attributed it more to people protecting their own heroes more than attacking me." The song was also attacked because of its banal lyrics, including "The heat was hot"; "There were plants, and birds, and rocks, and things"; and " 'Cause there ain't no-one for to give you no pain." Randy Newman once described it as a song "about a kid who thinks he's taken acid". Comedian Richard Jeni mocked the song's title. "You're in the desert," he said. "You got nothing else to do. Name the freakin' horse!" Well, love it or hate it, here it is one more time. Thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Horse_with_No_Name and http://www.rockhall.com/notes/today-in-rock/ for the info, and keep on rockin’!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Walk Softly...

... on this heart of mine...this is a personal to Mr. Whoamus: mystery solved! I'm reasonably certain that this is the second tune I was playing on last night at the open mic (couldn't hear the vocals very well from the back of the stage, but the riff sounds about right). I must admit I am a big Kentucky Headhunters fan - I especially like the old relic drums their drummer uses; looks like he ripped off the Metcalfe County marching band or something. It was great fun to pull that off...and by the way, here is a little capsule review of Odessey and Oracle:

1) It sounds just as fresh and new to me now as it did in 1969 when I bought the LP
2) This must have been their answer to "Abbey Road" - you can hear a lot of Macca in the bass lines
3) I'd put this up against anything XTC ever put out, or the output of any number of indie pop bands around today

Thanks again for sharing! Keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Could Be Me...

(I’ll give you fair warning, constant readers; in this blog entry I aim for artistic pretensions…)

Could be you… or it could be Michael Perry and the Long Beds (which, by the way, is a great name for a band, as Dave Barry would say). I caught their act at a local venue this past weekend. Mike is an author from New Auburn, WI, whose book, “Population: 485” has been featured in a promotion at our local library. I’m a fan of his literary work, and it was an added bonus when I found out he was a singer/songwriter as well. I did some checking on his web site (www.sneezingcow.com - as an Iowa farm boy, I know full well what happens when you stand behind a sneezing cow!) and bought his latest CD, “Headwinded.” He started out by reading from some of his works and telling some funny anecdotes about his interesting life. After a break, he came back with his band and played an egaging set of country-flavored songs. Mike turned out to be an accomplished singer who accompanies himself on guitar, with a crackerjack band to back him up. So it was pleasant surprise. Be sure to catch his act if he comes to your town, check out his website, and watch this vid of him promoting his latest book, “Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting.” Keep on rockin’, and we’ll catch you later!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You Can Rock It...

… you can roll it…Today in rock history, on this date in 1958, Danny and the Juniors reached #1 with “At the Hop.” This record, a thinly disguised 12 bar blues, celebrated dance styles popular at the time. “At the Hop” was performed by Sha Na Na at Woodstock and captured for posterity on the soundtrack recording. It was also performed by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids and included in the sound track recording of the 1973 movie “American Graffiti.” As I may have mentioned in previous posts, I was in a ‘50’s band in college during that same timeframe, since Sha Na Na’s appearance at Woodstock seemed to ignite a resurgence in the popularity of ‘50’s music. What has puzzled me since that time, though, is the stage garb of most ‘50’s bands of the period – greasy DA’s, white T-shirt with the pack of smokes rolled up in the sleeves, pegged jeans, engineer boots, black leather motorcycle jacket with 47 zippers – it was the uniform of the street tough hood from the ‘50’s. Check out the pic of yours truly below… However, if you take a look at, say, Bill Haley and the Comets, you’d notice they were much more dressed up on stage, usually wearing dinner jackets and those funny v-shaped ties popular in the era. So we got it wrong, but I don’t think I even owned a suit during those days! Thanks to www.wikipedia.org and www.rockhall.com/notes/today-in-rock for the info, let’s grease up and do the bop!

GREASER!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I May be Totally Wrong…

… but I’m a dancin’ fool….Today in rock history, in 1979, Frank Zappa released 'Sheik Yerbouti,' a double album that contains the disco parody single "Dancin' Fool." I don’t know if any of you still have this recording, but it’s got a great picture of ol’ Frank on the cover in a bernoose, puffing on a heater (which I suppose is what ultimately did him in). Not too much else to say…great album, great tune…let’s go back to the days of polyester suits, disco balls and Pontiac Grand Ams, and enjoy some Frank, shall we, and keep on boogyin’! Yowsa, yowsa, yowsa! Thanks to http://www.rockhall.com/notes/today-in-rock for the info.