Well done.

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Good advice.


The Art Of Parody

“Little Douche Coupe”

Well, I’m not bragging, man, so don’t put me down
But everyone I know thinks I’m a real ass clown
When I get into my car, you know, I don’t even try
If I see you need a lift, I just wave bye-bye
It’s my little douche coupe
You don’t know what I got

Just a little douche coupe, man, as you can see
The stereo plays nothing but Kenny G
When I pull in front of you, man, I become a jerk
I drive super-duper slow to make you late for work
It’s my little douche coupe
You don’t know what I got

It’s got a combination clutch and four-on-the-floor
And late at night I rev the engine right by your front door
And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid
There’s one more thing, I got a big sub-woofer

I park in handicapped, though I walk just great
And I always blast my horn when picking up my date
And just in case you think that I’m a caring chump
Bumper sticker on the back says I’m voting for Trump
It’s my little douche coupe
You don’t know what I got


“Heyyyy Abbbbb-ottttttt!”

11059648_10152926648764249_3228353880111426222_n
Costello: Who is that band?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Yes?
Abbott: No.
Costello: No?
Abbott: No. Who.
Costello: Who is that band?
Abbott: Yes. Who is that band.
Costello: That’s what I’m asking YOU!
11659451_10152926658919249_2524387288674921191_n
Costello: So how about THIS band?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Who is this band?
Abbott: No.
Costello: No?
Abbott: No. Yes.
Costello: Who?
Abbott: No. Yes.
Costello: Who is it?
Abbott: No. Who is the other band.
Costello: Who is the other band?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: And this band?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: ABBBB-OTTTTTTT!


Sad to note the passing of Percy Sledge.

Image from The New York Times

Percy Sledge, “The King of Slow Soul,” passed away yesterday at the age of 73.

Sledge had a long and prolific career: but he never again recorded a song that holds a candle to his first, 1966‘s “When A Man Loves A Woman.” It was Atlantic Records’ first-ever gold record, reached #1 on both Billboard’s Hot 100 and R&B charts, and was ranked as number 53 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.

If you’re a man you will, at some time in your life, feel this song. You will know it. You will probably even sing it. The depths of passion and devotion, fear and uncertainty, hope and agony, wrapped up in two minutes and fifty-one seconds. Those who know, will know. Those who don’t know, never will.

When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else
He’d change the world for the good thing he’s found.
If she is bad he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend if he put her down.

When a man loves a woman
He’ll spend his very last dime
Tryin’ to hold on to what he needs.
He’d give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way it ought to be.

Well, this man loves a woman –
I gave you everything I had
Tryin’ to hold on to your heartless love –
Baby, please don’t treat me bad.

When a man loves a woman
Down deep in his soul
She can bring him such misery.
If she is playin’ him for a fool
He’s the last one to know.
Lovin’ eyes can never see.

When a man loves a woman
He can do her no wrong
He can never want some other girl.

Yes, when a man loves a woman
I know exactly how he feels
‘Cause baby, baby, you’re my world.

When a man loves a woman….


Desert Island Singles: “If She Knew What She Wants” by The Bangles (1986)

Image from cat45.com

Image from cat45.com

“When (The Bangles) first started out as fresh-faced kids back in the mid-’80s, they captured the jangle of The Byrds, the melody of The Left Banke, the attitude of The Shangri-Las, and the rich harmonies of The Mamas and The Papas (without the Papas, of course) and wrapped them all up in a sweet and catchy package.” – Tim Sendra

“One of the two (well-selected) covers on the Bangles’ ‘Different Light’ album, ‘If She Knew What She Wants’ comes from the pen of Jules Shear whose band Jules and the Polar Bears were cult favorites, certainly of the Bangles. A mini-folk-rock gem, the song’s melody recalls some of Gene Clark’s stately work in the early Byrds canon, particularly ‘She Don’t Care About Time.’ The breezy arrangement and the band’s Mamas and Papas-inspired vocal arrangement is the cornerstone here; and overall it succeeds brilliantly, making the song one of the finest moments on the album. Although a seemingly perfect single (it was indeed released as such), the song was dwarfed in terms of commercial success by the somewhat disposable novelty cut, ‘Walk Like an Egyptian.’” – Matthew Greenwald

“You can keep ‘Manic Monday’ and ‘Walk Like An Egyptian,’ and I’ll take Susannah Hoff’s finest hour as a Bangle singing lead on ‘If She Knew What She Wants’ from ‘Different Light.’ The song only reached number 29 on the singles chart, but the video is a pure delight as it features The Bangles doing what they do best: combining harmonies and great musicianship, while looking great in the process.” – Steve Spears

Image from thebangles.org

Image from thebangles.org

I was long a fan of Jules Shear since his days with the Polar Bears and later as a solo singer/songwriter. I also was long a fan of The Bangles, ever since I saw this clip from 1984 on “Late Night with David Letterman” and instantly developed a life-threatening crush on drummer Debbi Peterson.

Jump ahead to 1986 and The Bangles’ second album “Different Light.” It spawned a single written by Prince, “Manic Monday,” a novelty song/video, “Walk Like An Egyptian,” and an excellent cover of Big Star’s “September Gurls.” The album is consistently great, but by far the standout song is Jules Shear’s “If She Knew What She Wants.” It kicks off with a soaring guitar riff, and when the band kicks in it’s magnetic. Hoff’s sultry voice is a little more subtle than usual, and the harmonies and musicianship of Debbi Peterson, guitarist Vicki Peterson (her sister), and bassist Michael Steele are stellar. Reminiscent of The Byrds and Big Star, it’s as close to a perfect folk-pop song as I can imagine.

This is the UK version of the video. Nice dance moves by Debbi. The American version, sadly, is god-awful stupid as it features cutaways where, one by one, each of the four women get smoochy with off-camera guys. No idea where they were going with that one.

If she knew what she wants
(He’d be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can’t see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

But she wants everything
(He can pretend to give her everything)
Or there’s nothing she wants
(She don’t want to sort it out)
He’s crazy for this girl
(But she don’t know what she’s looking for)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

I’d say her values are corrupted
But she’s open to change
Then one day she’s satisfied
And the next I’ll find her crying
And it’s nothing she can explain

If she knew what she wants
(He’d be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can’t see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her (giving it to her)

Some have a style
That they work hard to refine
So they walk a crooked line
But she won’t understand
Why anyone would have to try
To walk a line when they could fly

No sense thinking I could rehabilitate her
When she’s fine, fine, fine
She’s got so many ideas traveling around in her head
She doesn’t need nothing from mine

If she knew what she wants
(He’d be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He’d be givin’ it too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can’t see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

But she wants everything
(He can pretend to give her everything)
Or there’s nothing she wants
(She don’t want to sort it out)
He’s crazy for this girl
(But she don’t know what she’s looking for)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

(He’d be giving it to her)
(He could give her that too)
(But he can’t see through her)
Ooooooh, giving it to her
Giving it to her now


Shoulda been a hit: “Is It Any Wonder” by The Cowsills (1990)

“‘Global’ is a fine album in the best tradition of power-pop. It does not fall under the epithet and label of ‘bubblegum,’ and does not deserve that rather insulting label and pigeonhole. All songs on the album were written by Bob Cowsill and his wife Mary. The band was originally going to do just an oldies circuit tour in 1990 until they heard what Bob and Mary were writing. They got excited and went right into the studio. On ‘Global’ you’ll hear jangling guitars, pretty edgy rock on several tracks, and very in keeping with the late 80s/early 90s. As you would expect on a Cowsills record, the tight-knit family harmonies are there, intact, and ringing. Guitarist Bob, keyboardist Paul, and drummer John’s vocals are stellar. The surprise to many who haven’t listened in the last thirty years will be Susan Cowsill’s voice. Her vocals today are a cross between Nicolette Larson, Stevie Nicks, and a touch of Emmylou Harris. While she didn’t contribute writing to this record, she has written brilliantly on her solo records. When she was little with the group she was banished to a tambourine, but today she plays guitar both with the Cowsills and in her solo records. She really contributes to the great sound.” –  Solameanie, The Seventh Sola

Image from Wikipedia

Yeah, yeah, those Cowsills. Their mom was part of the band, and they became the template for “The Partridge Family.” Sang the theme song for “Love American Style,” and used to do TV commercials for milk.

Image from countryuniverse.net

The Cowsills were the first concert I ever went to. I was twelve in the fall of 1968; I recall it was the same day that The Beatles’ single “Hey Jude/Revolution” was released. My dad and mom took me, my cousin, my grandma, and my great-aunt to the old Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota to see Eddy Arnold in concert. Yes, that Eddy Arnold. The warm-up act? The reason my cousin and I were along? The Cowsills. Yeah, yeah, those Cowsills.

Image from jaysonhron.wordpress.com

I remember Eddy starting his set by grinning and saying to the audience, “Loud, aren’t they?” Dozens of people around me turned up their hearing aids once again.

(I was so naïve. I offered to go and buy my Dad a beer from the concession stand. Wisely, he declined.)

Anyway, that was about a year before The Cowsills hit it big with the theme song from the musical “Hair.” I didn’t realize how uncool they were till I told the other junior-high kids about it the next day.

Image from allmusic.com

Jump ahead twenty-two years, and four of the now much cooler and well respected in music circles Cowsills – Bob, Paul, John, and Susan – reunited to record one of the best power-pop albums I’ve ever heard: “Global.” It’s well worth checking out. “Is It Any Wonder” is the showcase song on the album full of showcase songs. Why wasn’t it a hit, or anything else from that album? Because they’re The Cowsills. Yeah, yeah, those Cowsills.

As Solameanie points out in the blog referenced above, The Cowsills are talented musicians who don’t deserve the bashing they took in hipster circles. I still play “The Rain, The Park, And Other Things” and “We Can Fly” on the radio, along with “Is It Any Wonder.”

Soon as she looked my way
All I wanted to do was play
That old love game
Even though I lacked ability to change

Man, I was lonely
And she was all I was looking for
And I thought it was forever
Then she said she was leaving
Yes, she had to go now

She don’t want to love me anymore
She don’t want to be the heart that mine beats for
Is it any wonder?

Well, I had my way
And there was nothing that she could say
Could have change my mind
I guess I was too set in my ways

And though I’m not the first one
To admit when things go wrong
That I never saw it coming
In the end she was everything I ever wanted now

She don’t want to love me anymore
She don’t want to be the heart that mine beats for
Is it any wonder?

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry
What’s the use in it now?
What am I supposed to do without her?
It’s a little too much to ask anybody

If I had a second chance
You know I’d do it all so differently
Oh, but it’s too late to think about
All the could have beens and should have beens
That wasn’t supposed to happen

She don’t want to love me anymore
She don’t want to be the heart that mine beats for
Is it any wonder?