Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A ghost story

Walker Evans
Image: Walker Evans

Darling Cora - B. F. Shelton

One morning a man walks up the mountain carrying a banjo. He stops at the edge of the yard and calls you by name, "Cora" (though he is a stranger), "Cora, I've written you a song." You study him uneasy from the lean-to, then bend to wash your hands, raw and red from early-day chores. As your mama's wedding ring tings against the metal basin, you test the tip of your work boot against the barrel of your .45 on the floor. But he stays put, respectful. Unlike those government men.

You wipe your hands on your skirt and step into the yard, decided. "C'mon then." He shuffles closer, but not too close. Then lifts his banjo and begins his song. You know right away that this is not a song for you, this parched and fluttering thing, this dry gasp of desire and ruin. Though the man sings "Cora" as "Cor-ay," familiar as a kinsman would, he is still a stranger and this is not a song for you. Though his banjo hums hypnotic, becoming purple and pacific as the encircling hills, this is not a lullaby. Or a love song. This is not a song for you.

But it is a song about you. And when the song ends abruptly, you're ready, resigned. "You've come to kill me," you say, weary of running. "Alright then."

The man smiles mirthless, shaking his head, avoiding your eyes. He lifts his arm slow and points to the meadow behind you. And when you look, you see something you hadn't earlier: a furrow of dirt the length of a man. A furrow the length of a woman. And creeping closer you understand that it is not a furrow so much as loose earth heaped high to mark a fresh-filled grave.

"Cora, my pretty, my dear" the man whispers, close now. "Cora, my darling ... you're already dead."

From The Music of Kentucky: Early American Rural Classics 1927-37, Vol. 1 (Amazon: US, UK, eMusic).

Also: You need to go over to Marathonpacks and read Bizarre Concert Experiences, Vol. 1. I contributed a little (well, sort of long) something, as did some other super smart and interesting music and music blogger folks.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Walk the walk, talk the talk

Do The Boomerang - Don Byron

There It Is - Don Byron

Don Byron is a musician's musician. In the four times I've seen him play, including most recently a performance at UT-Austin, it's been impossible not to notice the respect that he commands among fellow players both on stage and off. It doesn't hurt that his recordings over the years have themselves been testaments to his own appreciation for, and innovative interpretations of, previous artist's work such as 1993's Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz and 2004's Ivey-Divey, featuring music by Lester Young.

His latest release, Do The Boomerang: The Music of Junior Walker is no exception. Joined by an inspired crew including Chris Thomas King on vocals (you might remember him from his role in
O Brother, Where Art Thou?), and guitarist David Gilmore (not that David Gilmour), this time around Byron puts his trusted clarinet aside and delivers a world class turn on sax (where he lacks in dexterity compared to his clarinet work, he delivers on the instrument's penchant for rich coloration and sustained intensity).

There are numerous stand-out tracks including "Cleo's Mood," "Shotgun" and the ballad "What Does It Take (to Win Your Love)," but my current personal favorite is actually a cover of James Brown's "There It Is." Byron wisely chooses not to stray too far from Brown's signature instrumentation and song structure, complete with that unique feel of studied improvisation, hit-mes and all. The result is an utterly infectious 7+ minute stream of cascading solos, change-ups and rasped vocals, driven by an indefatigable rhythm section.

Catch a Don Byron
show this Winter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How do you solve a problem like Frida?

Frida Hyvonen

The Modern - Frida Hyvonen

Eight tracks into Frida Hyvonen's generally wise and wisely ambivalent Until Death Comes (Amazon: US, UK, eMusic), the album jacknives into an unwelcome aesthetic cul-de-sac: a tepid piano ballad with such virtually unforgivable lyrics as Romance is in the air, New York/I want to be a part of you, New York. Sure, that city's been known to arouse sentimental, wince-inducing babble from greater wordsmiths than the Swedish singer-songwriter. But it doesn't make it any less dispiriting when, mere minutes previous, in a song that nails (pun acknowledged and sorta regretted) the hazy complicity of young girls in their own seduction, Hyvonen intones Once I was a serene teenaged child/Once I felt your cock against my thigh, and goes on to sing candidly about the feeling of pride and the lonelinesss of falling for the lines of some asshole who calls himself a poet. In fact, when you compare "N.Y." with "Once I Was A Serene Teenaged Child" (video) or the spritely "Djuna!" which, as far as I can tell, is about a soured menage a trois, you start to question whether you're dealing with the same person.

Then you also begin to wonder if Hyvonen, like compatriot Jens Lekman, is up to something a little more complex than the usual sincere singer-songwriter shtick. Viewed as a sequence of costumed and masked performances of femininity similar to Cindy Sherman's photographic Untitled Film Stills series, Hyvonen could be said to interrogate the process of self-representation, the slippage between the singer and the sung "I." One of the best songs on the album, the torrid key-pounding melodrama, "You Never Got Me Right" gets at this:

Then you said to me that I was cold and stern
Said I'm like a man, I was no woman
Well you intellectualized my emotion
And called me baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby...

I know very little about Hyvonen (by design--I don't like biographical details getting in the way of newly encountered music), so while I understand her effects, I could be way overestimating her intentions. Like most people, she could simply have some taste issues. ("N.Y." isn't the only track that gives pause; "Valerie," a valediction to a female lover, also nudges the needle on the sap-o-meter.) I do know that her voice is bold and clear and confident. And despite some rhythmic redundancy, the stark piano-driven songs soar and thrill and surprise--as in the brief, capering whimsy, "The Modern," (video), where a girl imagines getting her boyfriend pregnant. So I'm giving Hyvonen the benefit of the doubt.

Frida Hyvonen's Web site, Myspace

Frida and I - The Fine Arts Showcase

By now, even my sixty-something parents know that all the good new pop comes from Sweden, especially pop of the twee and garage variety. You'll find some of that--and much, much more--on The Fine Arts Showcase's piecemeal rock record Radiola (eMusic). While he isn't unfamiliar with self-effacing folkiness, what Gustaf Kjellvander (who basically is The Fine Arts Showcase) really gravitates towards are the more theatrical idioms of popular music--vaudeville, glam, mid-century crooners, even goth. What makes the album's ocassional affectations bearable are the supremely catchy songs and watching Kjellvander successfully pull off some pretty swift scenery changes.

The Fine Arts Showcase's Web site, Myspace

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rocket 88

Rocket 88 ad

Quick! What was the first rock n' roll song?

If you said "Rock Around The Clock" (1954), you're off by at least four years. "Clock" was the first number one hit with all the hallmarks: blues roots, a strong backbeat, a distinctive melody, lyrics targeting a young audience. Early rock geeks argue on behalf of various jump blues and boogie-woogie songs from the 40s (and even earlier), but the smart money's on a 1950 recording, "Rocket 88," alternately credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats and some dude named Ike Turner (and the Kings of Rhythm). Turner's on piano (he was the actual ringleader even if who composed the song is somewhat disputed), Brenston's on vox and sax, Sam Phillips is at the controls. And this really is a song about a car. No double entendre or anything (just disregard the above ad). More factoids for the curious here.

Rocket 88 - Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm (or Jackie Benston and His Delta Cats)

From Black Daddies (iTunes), but also appears on Rhythm Rockin' Blues (Amazon).

Keep forgetting to mention: My favorite (non-music) blog these days is an unpretentious thing called The Outfit. A group effort by a cabal of Chicago crime writers, including famous folks Sara Paretsky and Kevin Guilfoile, the blog covers way more than Chicago and crime fiction. Stuff like great first sentences, judging books by their covers, presidential abuse of power and drinking at the Billy Goat Tavern. My favorite post so far is one of Guilfoile's and starts like this: Ian McEwan wanted to know how long it would take to hack off another man's arm. Intrigued?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday song: Sacred and profane

Image: Elizabeth D.M. Wise

When Someone Wants To Leave - Allie Peden

Allie Peden's sacred/profane voice could only be American--as redolent of church choir practice in lemon oil polished pews as scratched blues 45s or stolen kisses in belly-high prairie grasses. Peden massages vowels like skin pressed to skin, fingers clenched fervently in prayer or the slow crawl of a lover's exploratory hand. She has an old voice, but the Nashville-based musician is still in her teens.

From With This Love (CD Baby, eMusic)
Allie Peden's Myspace.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sweet Caroline

Owusu & Hannibal

Caroline No - Owusu & Hannibal

I'm still knocking about the borders of the charming debut album, Living with Owusu & Hannibal (Ubiquity Records, eMusic). But perched on the cusp of a clear chill October weekend, this slippery steel and vaporous liquid nitrogen cover of the Beach Boys' "Caroline No" demands now. Air trumpet, punch-drunk bass, burping beats--all swim weightless in Owusu & Hannibal's cocktail lounge spaceship as the Danish electro-R&B duo moondance with sugarbeet shadows. California white boy gravity and mope is upgraded in 2006 to sanguine multi-culti urbanity. This time, the girl comes around ... with yes on her lips.

Shower Owusu & Hannibal with hugs and kisses at their Myspace.

"Caroline No" isn't my favorite track on Pet Sounds. Not even close. But it always makes me think of my grandmother (named Caroline), and what a maddening woman she could be. Maddening in the best ways: willful, unconventional, spontaneous, unconcerned about what she was supposed to be doing at any given time and what anyone else might think of it. These qualities took on sharper, more obtrusive angles as she grew older. And they conspired to drive my literal-minded, Midwestern farm-raised grandfather batty. While I can't specifically recall a time when I heard him say "Caroline, no!" I can imagine him thinking it often. The adults would be playing pinochle, smoking, drinking gin and tonics, and my grandmother would suddenly fold. She'd announce that she was going to her basement studio to draw. Or perhaps she'd just then decided she preferred to play games with her grandchildren on the front porch. She rarely took adult concerns seriously (disliked politics, was indifferent to gossip) but if you had lost one of your doll's shoes or wanted to swim in the lake, these were the most pressing matters in the world.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kids in cloth coats

The Two Koreas

Cloth Coat Revolution - The Two Koreas

U-Boat Commander - The Two Koreas

Some of the most exciting music released this year comes courtesy of music bloggers turned label owners. I've previously talked up
Victor Scott and The Harvey Girls of SVC Records (sadly, Spoilt Victorian Child gave up the ghost several weeks ago after a long and beautiful run), and Tap Tap, signee of Catbirdseat Records. The Two Koreas, the band responsible for my current heaviest-rotation track "Cloth Coat Revolution," is a recent addition to the Unfamiliar Records roster, offshoot of excellent blog, Are You Familiar. See how that works? Bloggers with discerning taste make record label managers with discerning taste. Or just know how to pick music other music bloggers ... like. Hmm.

Anyway, the Toronto five-piece is readying its second album and if the two tracks available on Unfamiliar Records'
Compilation 1, especially "Coat," are any indication, it's gonna be a doozy: tight garage-punk thrash, dangerously witty lyrics dissecting the scene (some of the members are rock journos) and Stuart Berman's pissed-off prep school boy vocals (I giggle whenever I hear him sing-speak fucking ridiculous). It's a spectacular combination.

Drama Queen - Moi Caprice

Hits in the Car tipped me to this black-eyelinered, pretty-in-pink retrofuture prom theme from great emoting Danes Moi Caprice. Lovely.

Also: Oh, wow. If you're not already following it,
Locust St. is running a superb new series to celebrate its second birthday, "100 years (in 10 jumps)." Rich with historical overviews, quotes, images (fine art juxtaposed with popular advertisements, book jacket covers, family photographs), and, of course, music, this is a blogosphere don't-even-think-about-passing-up. From the lyrical intro:

On a stretch of pavement, with a bit of chalk, draw a straight line from curb to stoop. Take a long step forward and draw a smaller, parallel line; repeat this act nine more times, making the last line as long as the first. Then find a child, or a sprightly adult, and ask her to leap from line to line . . . Two leaps takes you from the womb to a battlefield; four leaps is Buddy Bolden to Charlie Parker, or Buster Keaton to Monty Python; eight leaps, more often than not, "starts with a birthstone and ends with a tombstone" as the Go-Betweens once sang.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday song revived

Rocking chair row
Image: alice ttlg

Back when I updated more frequently, I'd try to post what I thought of as "Sunday songs" on the seventh day. Songs that evoke that blanket of silence that descends on the world Sunday mornings, even here in the noisy city. They should be gentle and unforced, unemphatic, sporadically shadowed, sometimes sun-dappled, fundamentally good-natured, even as they're tinged with mild melancholy or regret. A Sunday song is the sound of settling into a creaky armchair with a good novel, walking straight country roads with a big dog or stirring a steaming amber pot of vegetable soup. Comfortable, but just faintly uneasy. After all, the world waits tomorrow.

40 Stripes - Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper isn't the simplest band to pin down. I included their shimmering psychedelic pop song "Silver Moon" in July's monthly mix. Just as often, though, the Portland band rides Americana's rutted road, flying the flags of CSNY (and its offshoots), The Flying Burrito Brothers and other country rock icons of 70s radio. Like Blitzen's pop tracks, "40 Stripes," brims with wistful wonder, even as its rollick & twang & ting marks the moments of a lover's growing disillusionment, the "Heavy doses of what may be/Catching on to your sorcery/Change in me."

From Folk Off!! (Amazon: US, UK, eMusic), it also appears on Blitzen Trapper's Field Rexx (Amazon: US, UK). Blitzen Trapper's Myspace, Web site.

Hoquiam - Damien Jurado

If you didn't look it up to find it's a town in Washington (Jurado's home state), you might think Hoquiam is some wonderful neologism. Say, hole + requiem = a remembering of the dead, but of a spotty, inconsistent, misremembering kind. What a puzzling way to open an album. And also appropriate, given that And Now That I'm In Your Shadow (Amazon: US, UK, iTunes) is a record of the dead and broken and the stories we tell about them (us), about memory, that rice paper, spindle-legged structure. Densely intertextual, the verses weave references to Jurado's previous records before yielding to brief "You should have" misgivings. Each refrain ends with a period of sorts, a rising note that makes you think is this the end? "Hoquiam" continues when you don't think it will, and then it leads into the album's next track ("Denton, TX"), and endings and beginnings, the past and present get all mashed and muddled, just like in life.

Damien Jurado's Myspace, Web site.

This is fun: Each Note Secure has posted Harp magazine's 50 Most Essential CDs since 2001.

Friday, October 13, 2006

No go pop

D.I. Go Pop

To understand how iconoclastic, even willfully unpopular, Disco Inferno's D.I. Go Pop (Amazon: US, UK, eMusic) was, it helps to remember where commercial and "alternative" rock were in 1994. Only a few years after "punk broke" (uh, right) grunge sludge from Soundgarden to the Smashing Pumpkins still clung to key chart positions in the U.S. The U.K., meanwhile, was engrossed by petty (and totally boring in retrospect) popularity contests between Blur, which released Parklife that year, and Oasis (Definitely Maybe). You can weigh the various merits of grunge and Britpop, but safe to say, wild inventiveness wasn't one of either movements' key selling points. Disco Inferno is all wild inventiveness.

As a conceptual exercise (instruments hooked up to samplers), which the band explored on several earlier EPs and singles, Pop is a masterpiece. But unless you're prepared to hire earth-moving machines to cart away the layers of noise that bury rudimentary, usually bass-led, melodies, it isn't what you'd call pop. Pastiche via sampling wasn't a new art then, certainly not if you consider what had gone on in hip-hop and dance music, or even in rock (see Teenage Filmstars). And it definitely isn't now. But Pop's patchwork songs retain their freshness and immediacy. It helps that the band relied on a lot of organic sounds--pouring rain, trickling water, whistling wind, shouting voices. So much so that sometimes you can imagine this as an ecological manifesto, or a nature record in which nature gets its revenge. Imagine "Starbound: All Burnt Out and Nowhere To Go" with it's tribal style chants, incessant camera shutter clicks and cacophony of birds, as a safari during which the natives, animals and earth turn on the Western tourists, roasting them on spits, plucking out their eyes, burying them in mud. For all its alarm and crushing paranoia (and heat! it's the inferno in "disco inferno"), the song isn't without sly humor. Check out vocalist Ian Crause's last funny, strangled cry: Bye bye, Must fly!

Disco Inferno often gets lumped in with the post rock gang, which is unfortunate if post rock for you signifies nap coming on (me), and mostly inaccurate. As forward-looking as it is, it actually makes more sense as post punk. Pop borrows sounds, if not moods, from, among others, Art of Noise, later Wire, and yeah, Joy Division, and you get the sense Mark E. Smith vocal coached Crause's dry rants and proclamations. It's exciting stuff--enormously interesting, invigorating and even, I daresay, pleasurable.

Starbound: All Burnt Out and Nowhere To Go - Disco Inferno

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dull thud

Beach House

Dull Thud - The Bleeps
Every band has at least one good, ok, at least one decent, song in them. I believe this. I'm sure The Bleeps have more than one (really). I say this with supreme confidence because "Dull Thud" is pretty spectacular as far as two-minute blasts of pop-punk go. It's all in the frenetic, pogoing bassline, obviously, but let's not overlook the enormous sense of fun these London boys bring--smirky lines like "You've got some of you mum's instincts, but you've used all your dad's moves." And fun should never be devalued. Never. Just this afternoon I was listening to Superchunk's first, self-titled album (something you should own if you care at all about noisy melodicism and, well, pogoing), specifically, "Not Tomorrow." It's a song where the bass also staples the song together (though probably not as effectively; you can hear Laura Ballance still learning her instrument), and the lead guitar line drills tiny holes in your head. For what purpose? To move you. No, not emotionally. Physically! Vertically, horizontally, against your friends, strangers, the wall, the floor, whatever feels good. This here's the same deal. Get up get up get up! The Bleeps' Myspace.

Pressure - Teenage Filmstars
If Teenage Filmstars were a new band, I'd be setting up a MySpace page so I could make them my friend. I'd be clearing space on my best-of year-end list, just so I could show my appreciation, proper-like. But Teenage Filmstars are not a new band and they are not a they. They are a he, one Ed Ball: punk, Television Personality, historical footnote (more than historical footnote?), noiseslinging slapdash rabblerousing pastichepiecemealcollage artiste.

Auburn and Ivory - Beach House
Oh course Beach House's debut album (Amazon, eMusic) makes me want to tell stories about my childhood. I even have a couple set in beach houses on the Jersey shore and one in San Diego queued up. Stories that are inconsequential--about wrestling with lobsters crackers and sand in pillowcases--except in aggregate. And then they concatenate into a crucial piece of a personal history. But I'll spare you. Because I think people have been reading Beach House all wrong. Beach House is about now, not the ghosts of the past, but the ghosts of the present. The ones you feed and foster, the ones you pick to haunt you and allow to nip at your heels until you're left with flat-bottomed feet, the ones, in short, that matter. In "Auburn and Ivory," Victoria Legrand leads a slow, sinister waltz. Queasy guitars, quaint tinkling harpsichordish keys follow. So do you: dazed, seduced, half-chloroformed, semi-somatic. Oh, you fool. Beach House's Web site, Myspace

Saturday, October 07, 2006

October mix: Cast a light

Image: Porcaro Family

Cast That Light - The Black Neon1
Died In A Lake - The Dutch Elms2
Once Upon A Time - The Boyfriends3
Princess Vancouver - Morning Spy4
You Are The Only One I Love (live) - Jaymay5
Sweet When You Were Young - Terribly Empty Pockets6
Dirty Blue - Woven Hand7

Zip file-Oct mix

Key lines and artist info:

1. Winter goes, can spring be far away?
From Arts & Crafts (Amazon, eMusic)

2. Drowning is the only way they can take me away from you.
From Music For Happiness (Amazon, Jigsaw Records).
Web site, Myspace

3. The thing that I will miss the most is you holding my hand.
From The Boyfriends (eMusic, iTunes)
Web site, Myspace

4. They sat us down and explained malice and intention, malice and intention.
From The Silver Age (Abandoned Love Records, eMusic)
Web site, Myspace

5. I thought of you when on St. Mark's I saw some other man collecting cans.
Web site, Myspace

6. I could build you a house in the shape of my heart, but you'd only throw rocks through my windows.
Web site, Myspace

7. I, I'm held together by strings.
From Mosaic (Amazon, Sound Familyre)
Web site, Myspace

Thursday, October 05, 2006

And now we get gory (and frivolous)

Image: Linda Mears

Kate Bush? Girl groups and their deep roots in Colonial-era ballads?

C'mon, Shake Your Fist, don't you know what rock 'n roll is? Homoerotic avian bloodsport and monkey wasting disease!

Or, to put it another way, I'll see your dramatic diva and heartsick, story-telling gals and raise you a healthy helping of male maleness sent way-over-the-top.

Cock Fight - Six Finger Satellite

Simian Fever - Six Finger Satellite

(Actually, if I was forced to create some linkage between Kate, the Goodees and these boys, I'd say each of them are most talented at rendering their own brand of atmosphere. The Six Finger guys tend toward the darker side of things, but they undercut their own efforts at post-Big Black vileness with a dash of silly that makes them tolerable and, I'd argue, endearing.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Don't go away mad

The Goodees
Image: Ace Records

Condition Red - The Goodees

Even among the many weird and wonderful curiosities of the girl group era, "Condition Red" is an oddity. A late entry (1968) in a subgenre that thematically fused tragic opera librettos and simple teenage rock n' roll rebellion, the song is close kin to The Shangri-Las "Leader of the Pack." Kim Cooper locates it in this tradition and highlights some of its stranger elements--the narrator's friendless status, the snotty way she mimics her worried parents, the unusual manner in which the rebel boy perishes (he crashes his motorcycle into a parked car)--in an excellent
Scram piece. But reading Dave Marsh's essay on "Barbara Allen" (found in the Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad) this past weekend, I wonder if there's another interesting (and relatively unexplored) method of approaching "Condition Red" and its ilk.

"Barbara Allen" is perhaps the oldest surviving and best-known ballad in the Anglo-American folk tradition. First printed in the 17th century and canonized by Francis Child as
Child Ballad #84 in the 19th, it's a durable little tragedy. You can find hundreds of recordings by the usual folkies--Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, New Lost City Ramblers (which I've included, since it's a pretty straightforward rendition)--but also contemporary interpretations by the likes of Dolly Parton and The Handsome Family, the last of whom specialize in making this kind of stuff palatable to indie kids.

As you'd expect from something that's primarily been transmitted orally and has wandered far and wide (it probably originated in Scotland), the song has a bunch of variants. But the basic facts remain these: Sweet William (or something similar) lies dying because the object of his affection, Barbara Allen, won't return his love. Barbara defends herself by pointing out that just the other night at the local tavern William sang the praises of every girl in town except her. But following William's death, she suffers such sorrow and regret that she too soon succumbs. Buried side by side, William's grave grows a rose and Barbara's a briar, which intertwine to form "a true love knot."

Ballads don't survive more than 400 years unless they tap some strong and enduring concerns--and deep anxieties. "Barbara Allen" addresses the full slate: love, death, life after death, emotional cruelty, guilt. But if you really want to boil the song down to one thing, it's gotta be about how easy it is for men and women to misunderstand one another. Which just happens to form the tragic crux of "Condition Red." The girl tells her sweetie that, given her parents' position, it might just be better if he meets her at the corner instead of coming to the house. Offended by what he interprets as her unwillingness to defend him and prove her love, he "goes away mad"--and to his death. This despite the fact that she calls after him, "Hey, take me with you!"

All of which ... is rather comical, actually. If the scenario itself doesn't get your giggling, the melodramatic boom boom opening, unfortunate associations of "condition red" with cheesy "emergency" T.V. shows and--God help producer Don Davis--the church organ outro, will. There's a fine line between tragedy and kitsch, and the song walks it. But so do these slightly older teen tragedies. I mean, really, who dies of heartbreak? And the thing with the briar and the rose? Ridiculous, right?

Marsh concludes his Barbara Allen essay with this:

What amazes me is that people--educated people and, for that matter, people who educate--can gaze so long at a beautiful mystery and instead see nothing but a perfectly formed shell containing interesting things to count... What's amazing is our ability to ignore the lesson that "Barbara Allen" has to teach, which is the peril of denying the complicated mysteries that throb within our hardened hearts ...

And it seems to me that many of the girl group teen dramas (which were, it should be recognized, mostly composed and produced by older men) pursue this very problem. Excessive and often hysterical (in both senses), adolescent and unreal, they tell stories about the everyday ineffable and those terrestial, yet incredible things that regularly defy logical interpretation. And probably should.

BTW, I'm thinking of exploring the connection between narrative girl group songs and the folk ballad tradition further for another, larger project. So if you have thoughts on the matter, please share them in an email. The connection may, in fact, be extremely tenuous.

Leader of the Pack - The Shangri-Las

Barbara Allen - New Lost City Ramblers

Barbara Allen - The Handsome Family

Where The Girls Are, Various (
Leader Of The Pack, The Shangri-Las (
Old Timey Songs For Children, New Lost City Ramblers (
Straight Outta Boone County, Various (

Other stuff:

A flat-out fantastic post on Shuggie Otis at Tuwa's Shanty.