564. déjà vu

“It’s 1970, there’s a new decade on the world, and with the Beatles officially broken up, there’s no more important band on the planet than Crosby Stills Nash + Young. At least that’s what Rog thought (boyfriend of my best friend’s big sister), who actually read Rolling Stone magazine and stuff like that. Their album of the moment was Déjà Vu and I guess eleven year old me liked some of it (the hits mostly). But the title track eluded me. Too smooth, I guess, and complicated. But jump ahead a few years, maybe halfway through high school, and it finally got me – so much happening in terms of shades and harmonies and changes, the music itself like a restless, living creature. Marijuana was involved.” (Philip Random)

CSNY-1970

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565. fat man

“From 1969, when Jethro Tull was still the hot new band of the moment, riding the hip edge of the cool underground, here with mandolins, bongos, other things made of wood. The song’s simple enough. A young man expressing his desire to not someday grow old and fat, and just good fun. Easier said than done, of course, but I’m comfortably into my forties now and so far so good. Yes, I’ve failed at pretty much every ambition I ever set for myself but at least I can still see my feet when I look down.” (Philip Random)

JethroTULL-1969

566. Roads to Moscow

Al Stewart was a respected albeit minor British folkie on his way to becoming a rather bland MOR contender when he wrote this pocket symphony about a young Russian soldier in World War Two, and his ultimate betrayal at the hands of the Great Stalin. And it’s so beautiful, so epic, so sad it pretty much stops time. Seriously. They should teach Roads To Moscow in high school. I’m sure I learned more from its eight minutes than I did in pretty much all History 10.” (Philip Random)

ALstewart-1974

567. groovallegiance

“There’s not enough Funkadelic on this list. I’m sorry. It’s not my fault. Seriously, try to find any used Funkadelic vinyl in metro Vancouver that isn’t either hacked to shit or priced way out of my range. It doesn’t exist.  But I did finally steal a copy of One Nation Under A Groove from somebody whose name I can’t divulge (for obvious reasons), but trust me, he’s an asshole. Jesus even said it was okay, and alcohol. And anyway, if I do end up going to hell, it won’t be for that.” (Philip Random)

fundadelic-mothership

568. dead dog on the highway

“I had a friend back in the day with ambitions of being a big deal rock video director, which never really panned out. The closest he ever got to anything of substance was meeting somebody who knew somebody that maybe had some pull with Sons of Freedom. I remember him getting all excited, telling me his killer concept for Dead Dog On The Highway. To be shot out in the desert somewhere, the band playing at the side of the highway with every shot taken from passing vehicles, moving fast, so all you ever caught were quick glimpses. Meanwhile, Jesus was being crucified on a hill in the distance (dog being god spelled backwards). Needless to say, the band didn’t go for it. But it would’ve been a good one.” (Philip Random)

SonsOfFreedom-gtr

569. silent kit

“I actually saw Pavement at their mid-90s peak, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t paying much attention. I guess I’d pretty much had it with so-called ROCK music at the time, for which I’d blame Grunge mostly, all that flannel and kerranging and ponderous sincerity. But jump ahead maybe five years to the end of the century and I guess I was finally ready for the beer-in-one-hand-joint-in-the-other shambolic genius of Stephen Malkmus and his crowd, everything crystallizing in the lead-off track from 1994’s Crooked Rain Crooked Rain – a full minute of sloppy mucking around, chasing first a groove, then a melody, before the song finally finds itself (and in fact, the melody’s a direct rip-off of an old Buddy Holly tune) but man does it click! But is it a Silent Kit or a Silent Kid? Or am I fool to even wonder?” (Philip Random)

Pavement-1994

570. I am a rock

“I found this Buck Owens cover of a Simon + Garfunkel nugget in Cache Creek, British Columbia, I think, thrift store, mid-90s sometime. An entire album of electrified countrified takes on some of that hippie sh** the kids were so into at the time (1971). And delivered with all due sincerity, because don’t fool yourself. Nobody knows lonely like a one man island, or a Country + Western superstar.” (Philip Random)

BuckOwens-1973

571. with our love

“My introduction to Talking Heads went something like this.  Maybe 1978, artist guy (obviously high on quality drugs) walks up to me at a party and says, ‘Where does everybody live? In some kind of building. What does everybody eat? Food. More Songs About Buildings and Food is about everybody.’ And it was good at parties.” (Philip Random)

TalkingHeadsp-1978

572. mirror in the bathroom (dub)

Known as the English Beat in the Americas, the British Beat in the Australia, The Beat were a big part of the groovy side of the so-called post-punk/new wave era, certainly at home in Britain, with the dub mix of Mirror in the Bathroom a nifty little number that was effective on the dance floor, in the background at parties, in the car whilst negotiating traffic. Which has always been the special appeal of dub to me – music which is mostly absent words, yet moving in a particular direction anyway. Something to do with sound-tracking the ongoing corrosion of the so-called Western World. And it’s fun.

Beat-1980