Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beat it

His personal life aside, there is no denying at one time Michael Jackson was the undisputed King of Pop. Tell me you didn't own a copy of Thriller. That would be really freaky.

Sadly, today's news doesn't come as a shock.

I'm just sayin'.

MJ, by the numbers:
13 Grammy Awards
13 No. 1 Singles
46 Million copies of Thriller sold worldwide
750 million total albums sold worldwide

I Want You Back
Walk Right Now
Shake Your Body
Can You Feel It

Jackson 5 - Rankin/Bass Animated Series Opening

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Who you callin' Cissy?

On this day in 1969, the Meters scorching soul classic Cissy Strut reaches #23 on the Billboard charts.

The New Orleans based band, fronted by Art Neville, pioneered the Funk. Achieving some moderate chart success, the band was also a favorite among other musicians. In 1974, Paul and Linda McCartney hired the band to play a party aboard the Queen Mary. The following year the Stones took them on tour as an opening act.

Enduring a breakup, lineup and name changes, the band eventually reunited and continues to perform today.

Cissy Strut

Cissy Strut- The Meters (New Orleans Jazz Festival, 1993)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

Beyond his musical agility, past his cutting verse, what has sustained Elvis Costello some 30+ years since this geeky punker exploded onto the scene with his Buddy Holly specs, skinny ties and size-too-small suits is his ability to continually look into himself while looking out at all of us. Constantly finding inspiration to add to his astounding body of work.

As he has matured, so have his songs. With several brilliant mistakes in the 90's, EC arrived in the new millennium delivering a string of eclectic and fantastic releases, and the Imposter himself has spent this year making a Spectacle of himself on cable television, in what is the ultimate rock and roll master class.

The culmination of said efforts has cemented his status as rock royalty. The following is a nod to Rock's other king named Elvis.

I am pleased that I will in attendance next week, for EC's spring residency at the Beacon Theater. Full review to follow.

I'm just sayin'.

Imagination (is a powerful deceiver)
Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

Gold Standard- Elvis, the elder statesman:

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror- Elvis Costello (VH1, 2006)

45- Elvis Costello & The Imposters (When I Was Cruel, 2002)

Still- Elvis Costello (North, 2003)

Heart Shaped Bruise- Emmylou Harris & Elvis Costello (Ovation TV, 2004)

Monkey To Man- Elvis Costello & The Imposters (The Delivery Man, 2004)

River in Reverse- Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint (River in Reverse, 2006)

Sulphur to Sugarcane (Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, 2009)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beyond Belief

Often lauded as the post-modern Bob Dylan, EC's songwriting prowess, sometimes subtle, sometimes sophisticated and always sublime, has yielded some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics this side of Cole Porter.

The perfect complement to this gift is the ease at which he can appropriate any style that suits his needs. Whether an original or cover, EC makes it his own. Considering the following an ostentatious lesson in mixing color. I'm just sayin'.

Beyond Belief
Girls Talk (original)
Girls Talk (cover)
Good Year For The Roses
Party Party

Deeper hues- Elvis the journeyman:

New Amsterdam-Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Get Happy, 1980)

Good Year For The Roses-Elvis Costello & The Attractions (G. Jones cover)

She- Elvis Costello (Knotting Hill soundtrack, 2004)

I'll Never Fall In Love Again- Elvis Costello & Bert Bacharach (Austin Powers 2 soundtrack)

Jacksons, Monk and Rowe- Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet (The Juliet Letters, 1993)

Crazy- Diana Krall, Elvis Costello & Willie Nelson (2006)

Love Hurts- Emmylou Harris & Elvis Costello (Letterman)

Radio, Radio- Beastie Boye & Elvis Costello (SNL, 25th Anniversary)

What's So Funny (About Peace, Love and Understanding, Nick Lowe cover)- Elvis Costello and the Imposters (hosting Letterman, 2003)

Girl's Talk- Dave Edmunds & Rockpile (Elvis Costello cover, circa 1981)

I'm A Fool To Want You- Chet Baker & Elvis Costello (1986)

Beyond Belief- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Imperial Bedroom, 1982)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Almost Blue

The angry young man does indeed have a softer side. No doubt the fire in his belly sparked the flame that traveled straight to his heart. The result: a collection of torch songs that rank among the greatest ever written.

Many of Elvis Costello's earlier ballads are directly attributed to his tempestuous affair with the legendary groupie/model Bebe Buell. Their on-again, off-again romance provided the grist for several of his most aggrieved and personal offerings. Others give the appearance of love songs, but are really just cleverly disguised protest songs. Wait, isn't that the same thing?

I'm just sayin'.

Almost Blue
My Dark Life (w/ Brian Eno)

Almost Blue- Elvis, the hopeless, forlorn romantic:

Alison- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1st TV appearance, Granada Reports, 1977)

Accidents Will Happen- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Armed Forces, 1979)

Man Out Of Time- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Letterman, 1982)

Riot Act- Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Almost Blue- Chet Baker (Let's Get Lost soundtrack, 1988)

That Day Is Done- Elvis Costello co-written by Paul McCartney (Concert for Linda, 1999)

Shipbuilding- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1982)

I Wanna Be Loved- Elvis Costello & The Attrctions (1984)

Everyday I Write The Book- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1983)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This year's model

To celebrate the release of Elvis Costello's 32nd studio LP, Secret, Profane and Sugarcane, the Monkey is dedicating a full week of posts to the original Napoleon Dynamite.

Spanning Mr. Costello's career of excursions into a multitude of musical genres is no easy task. His chameleon-like aptitude displays more colors than the general assembly of the U.N. That said, We'll break it down, exploring and refracting the spectrum of Rock's true bon vivant.

I'm just sayin'.

High Fidelity

Primary Colors- Elvis, the angry young man:

Pump It Up- Elvis Costello and the Attractions (This Year's Model, 1978)

The Beat- Elvis Costello (This Year's Model, 1978)

Radio Radio- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (SNL, 1977)

Elvis Costello - Radio Radio (SNL 12/17/77) from Mikey Lemieux on Vimeo.

Uncomplicated-Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Blood & Chocolate, 1986)

High Fidelity- Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Get Happy, 1980)

I Hope You're Happy Now- Elvis Costello & The Imposters (Live By Request, 2003)