About Randophonic

For now, I'm best thought of as a radio program. Sometimes it may seem I'm all the work of one person, other times many. What matters is the program.

157. yer blues

“True fact. For most of the 1980s, the Beatles pretty much always lost those Beatles vs Stones arguments (unless you were hanging out with idiots). Not that the ’80s Stones were up to anything new that was particularly necessary, just that their older stuff had the sort of teeth the times required. Though Yer Blues from the so-called White Album, also excelled in that regard — a blues as voracious as anything the Stones ever put to vinyl, or any other pale skinned band for that matter. As much a send-up of the whole idea of white guys churning out authentic black music as it was a genuine howl from the soul of a guy who really was so lonely he wanted to die, it still conjures chills and wins arguments. Because it’s true, the Stones may have been a better blues outfit but Beatles had the best actual song.” (Philip Random)

JohnLennon-1968

(image source)

Advertisements

158. stray cat blues

 

If you were concerned with the cutting edges of things, you knew that by summer 1968, the peace and love part of the ’60s was most definitely on the wane. Which was good news for the Rolling Stones who generally couldn’t see the point in all the flower power stuff. They were more comfortable with grittier, grimier, dirtier options, like Stray Cat Blues, the one about the fifteen year old groupie who liked to drag her fingernails down the backs of her fave rock stars, who no, as a matter of fact, hadn’t asked to see her ID. Shock for shock’s sake? Probably. But it’s a hell of a groove from a hell of an album from a hell of a time.

RollingStones-1968-beggars

159. one more cup of coffee

One More Cup of Coffee is the Dylan track I tend to dig out when somebody feels compelled to tell me he can’t sing. Really? I’d like hear you or anybody you know do what he does in this one, the way he waivers just so, like something out of lost centuries, forgotten languages. The arrangement helps, of course, that wandering fiddle, the whip sharpness of the drums. And what’s the song about beyond a visit to the local Starbucks? The stuff of those lost centuries, I suppose, by way of his then current marital woes, reflections of self seen in distorted mirrors … and hearts like oceans, mysterious and dark. And then there’s my neighbour Motron’s theory that it concerns the Jason Robards character from Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West. Because you may be bound for hell itself, but there’s always time for one more cup of coffee.” (Philip Random)

BobDylan-1976-liveHardRAIN

(image source)

160. 1969

“1969 is the highest Stooges track on the list because I only have the one album and I’ve got to assume everybody’s already heard I Wanna Be Your Dog. Which isn’t to diminish 1969, it’s solid and raw all the way. It was the year of Woodstock, the year we all got back to the garden apparently, but Iggy wasn’t seeing it that way. He just saw war across the USA, and another year with nothing to do, except maybe get the ball rolling on inventing so-called punk rock.” (Philip Random)

Stooges-1969-live

(Photo: Glen Craig)

161. stigmata

 

“It’s true. The mind is a terrible thing to taste. All those lysergic juices, leaking down from your brain to the back of your mouth when all that acid you put in your veins gets to bubbling over. Actually, I was in total control the whole time, Lollapalooza, 1992, the biggest mosh pit I’ve ever encountered, the dark gods of Ministry reigning supreme in their ridiculous over-sized hats. Which is a key point. Despite all the menace, there was something genuinely fun about Ministry live. Although there was that moment toward the end of their set when they were slaying all with Stigmata (and officially seizing the day from the likes of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Jesus + Mary Chain, even the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) — I turned for a moment from the stage, looked back through the multitude, the thousands upon thousands of spent and wasted (and ultimately blank) young faces illustrating the key lyric all too well: The only truth I know Is the look in your eyes. Did I mention it was pouring rain that day? The rain just kept a-falling.” (Philip Random)

Ministry-1992-live

162. liar

Liar‘s the first Queen song I ever heard. Grade Nine, a tinny little radio in my bedroom, I was probably doing homework. And suddenly there it was, knocking me spiraling out of orbit (in a damned good way) like something from Jesus Christ Superstar, except without any Jesus involved, thank God. Just the trials of tribulations of some guy who’d done too much lying and now there was hell to pay. But it was the band that had me floored – all the power and stomp of Black Sabbath mixed with the epic sweep of somebody like Yes, and a singer (or was there a whole choir?) who didn’t seem to know any limits at all. Of course, I had to tell everybody about it at school the next day, but most of them just laughed. A band called Queen? What were they? Fags? Jump ahead a couple of years and I’d be thoroughly vindicated. Queen would be mega by then, with even the football jocks trying to hit Bohemian Rhapsody’s high notes. Except I didn’t really care about Queen anymore by then, they’d peaked already with their first three albums. Or maybe they never really got past Liar, that part toward the end where the riff lands heavier than metal and then the bass goes rampaging off into a whole new dimension (take a bow, John Deacon, you never get enough credit) and then one more chorus of ‘liars’. It still gives me chills. Sometimes anyway.” (Philip Random)

Queen-firstALBUM-edit

163. walk on gilded splinters

“I seem to recall Dr. John getting some late night FM radio play way back when, and not just the obvious hit. And then there was that time he showed up on TV in full Night Tripper guise — headdress, voodoo regalia and deeply strange music to match. But it would be decades before I’d finally hear a full album. 1968’s Gris Gris to be specific, bought cheap at a yard sale, and a delicious gumbo it was – the musical equivalent of rare herbs, old bones, strange elixirs, a little bit of everything. In other words, soul, blues, gospel, honky tonk, even a few voodoo chants. But that’s what it takes, I guess, if you mean to go walking on splinters, gilded or otherwise.”

DrJohn-NightTripperLIVE-1970

(photo: Richard Blair)

164. home computer

“I guess you could say this strange age we still find ourselves in officially landed with Kraftwerk in 1981 — everyday people owning artificial brains, keeping them in their homes next to the TV maybe, playing games on them, writing with them, making music. Not that I was paying it all much attention in 1981. I was mostly confused in 1981, or more to the point I was fighting confusion, because I’m still confused. I just gave up the fight a long, long time ago. Which gets us back to Kraftwerk, Computer World. What an album! Sounded exactly like the future that we all had coming, ready or not. And I guess I was. Ready, that is. In spite of all the confusion.” (Philip Random)

Kraftwerk-1981-live

(photo: Kevin Komoda)

165. soul rebel

“With a small handful of exceptions, the very best Bob Marley is the very early Bob Marley, the stuff he recorded long before we, the godless multitudes of greater Babylon, had a clue that even existed, when he was still just some struggling Jamaican local trying to believe in his soul. In particular, you’ve gotta love what he did with the singularly unsane Lee Scratch Perry in the producer’s chair. I do anyway, the two of them (and the band, of course) exploring far darker, edgier realms of soul and rebellion than what would eventually come to hog all the space on the Greatest Hits albums, get hippies dancing around bonfires, pretending they’re little birds.” (Philip Random)

BobMarley-1970-streetCorner