668. spirit of the boogie

“I first heard Kool and the Gang in the late 1970s and I didn’t like them at all. Too easy and smooth – the wrong kind of radio friendly. But jump ahead fifteen years or so and I was moving backward, getting archaeological as I dug through the stacks upon stacks of old vinyl that everybody was dumping at the time. Which inevitably got me to their better, cooler, funkier early stuff, starting with 1975’s Spirit of the Boogie. Apparently, even James Brown was afraid of them at time. Too dangerous to have on while he was driving.” (Philip Random)


669. law of the land

Masterpiece was the Temptations‘ first album post the mega success of Papa Was A Rolling Stone, and it’s truth in advertising, with producer-writer-arranger Norman Whitfield set free to make the most (in a widescreen sort of way) of the best all male vocal outfit ever. Law of the Land stands out for the way it thunders along, and the tough tale it has to tell.


670. get a grip on yourself

It’s Britain, 1977, and if you’re not punk, you’re not worth knowing. Unless you’re the Stranglers, who were like punk’s mean older brother, more sophisticated, and tougher in a street fighting sort of way. Also, they had a sort of existential edge as a song like Get A Grip On Yourself makes clear. Yeah, society’s f***ed, the world’s going up in apocalyptic flames. No reason to lose your cool, man.


671. reel ten

“If I haven’t seen Repo Man twenty times, I’ve definitely seen it fifteen. But I still couldn’t tell you how it ends exactly. Something to do with Otto getting into the car with the wigged out mechanic guy Miller … and going for a ride in the sky. But then what happens? Anything? Does the movie just end? Clearly, it doesn’t matter. Repo Man is a movie of scenes and moments, with more superlative pieces than any random ten Oscar winners put together. And one of them is definitely that scene with the flying car, mainly because of the music. A track called Reel Ten by the band known as the Plugz, who I otherwise know nothing about, except somebody told me they played on Letterman once with Bob Dylan.” (Philip Random)

672. future days

“Are Can still the greatest band that most people have never heard? Probably. Which makes Future Days (song and album) always worth recommending, marking both the peak and the beginning of the end of their glory days. Not that they didn’t still have some great music in them post 1973, it would just never get back to such a strange and ethereal peak. Because singer, vocalist, lead madman Damo Suzuki was slowly fading away, not to return. Like a bittersweet dream of the future that actually came true, because there I was, a good ten or twelve years after the fact, hearing it for the first time myself, and it was perfect, it was exactly what the mid-80s felt like. Living in a future, ready or not.” (Philip Random)

673. Careful with that axe, Eugene

“A big part of the genius of the post-Syd-Barrett-pre-Dark-Side-of-the-Moon Pink Floyd is just how scattered, unformed, incomplete so much of it is – the various albums and soundtracks and loose pieces arriving more like strange and fabulous reports on an ongoing indefinable work in progress than anything remotely complete. Case in point, the numerous versions of Careful With That Axe Eugene floating around (at least one going by a different title altogether). If I had to choose only one though, it would be the live version found on side one of Ummagumma, simply because it scared the hell out of me the first time I heard it. Grade Seven sometime, a friend’s older brother having some good clean bloodcurdling fun with us on a dark winter’s night.” (Philip Random)