17 June 2014

The Jams: Guilty Pleasures Edition

Dammit, Linda Ronstadt So seemingly silly...yet so great. Bonus points for Dan Electro teardrop guitar
Ah, Johnny Rotten. A punk icon to be sure, and yet he winds up appearing in a great suit, albeit with white shoes and a cheap tux shirt buttoned to the top without a tie.

 All of the above noted Jams were meant for the youth of their day, yet I find that I could not appreciate any of them until just now,at the age of 37, with a couple of kids in tow. I know now, however, that each is a full jam in its way.And so it turns out, I guess, that as we age our subversive tastes need not decline, but rather remain and evolve...for those of us that really mean it anyway. Earlier this evening, I heard "Just One Look" in its original incarnation by Doris Troy, a jam to be sure. In searching the Youtubes for a video, I stumbled on Ms. Ronstadt and her band nailing it...hard..in 1980. I'm generally loathe to say that a cover is better than its original, except sometimes it is. (see Blue Cheer: Summertime Blues)

 I listened to "I Know What Boys Like" by The Waitresses all through my punk years, and pretended not to like it, but in fact I always loved it. The older I get, the less time I have to pretend.

 The other day I found myself in line at a local thrift, diligently working to bring you all the best of the old stuff, when "Rise" by Public Image Limited came on the stereo. After years of hearing it, it finally dawned on me that it was the voice of Johnny Rotten. I had of course come to know our Mr. Rotten as an icon of Punk, but had also been conditioned to revile any solo work that happened in the mid 80s. Despite his overwrought "crazy bug eyed face" posture in the video, I think the song stands for itself.

 Actually, nix the "guilty pleasures" part of the title of this post. Whats to be guilty for, anyway? These songs, despite being stylistically "so eighties" transcend all that, not unlike classic clothing, good cooking, or any other well presented work of art.


Randy in California said...

"I Know What Boys Like" is brilliant. I love how Kiss pretends they didn't totally rip-off that hook for "I Love It Loud."

Kiss I Love It Loud

MPR said...

Nailed it. A jam is a jam. Doesn't matter if it's some obscure band playing their heart out or if it is Linda Ronstadt singing a Doris Troy cover or American top 40 (RIP Casey Casem).

I read an interview of Jerry Garcia recently (the dead are a band which can jam in its own right even though one may not particularly like the whole scene that evolved) where he was asked about "psychedelic" music. His response to the interview was, "All music is psychedelic, man."

Linda Ronstadt singing "Blue Bayou" pretty much kills it, but then again so does Linda Ronstadt singing "Somewhere Out There" with James Ingram.

Anonymous said...

Dear Giuseppe,
in my humble opinion, the teardrop-like guitar was a Vox MKIII, and not a Danelectro.
Best regards

Mod Dave said...

I saw PIL live in 1989 (really dating myself here!) and have been a huge fan ever since! Their first single "Public Image " is equally great.

Joe said...

Correction taken. Never been much of
a guitar nerd myself, though I do know a cool one when I see it.