There’s a line in Bruce McDonald’s Hard Core Logo in which Pipefitter, drummer savant says, (and I’m paraphrasing wildly here) “No one ever writes checks to the bands who influenced them.” Upon listening to Everything Is Roses 1985-1989, an anthology of Nashville’s Raging Fire, it seems like a whole lot of bands should have written some checks. The music of Raging Fire sounds familiar (though I’d not heard them) because so many bands aped their style. Strong front women with their own eclectic voices owe a debt to Melora Zaner. She doesn’t have a bombastic voice, but she makes you listen because of her nuance and passion. Without Raging Fire, a whole slew of bands wouldn’t exist.
Are you a discerning celebrator of Samhain, looking for some different music to terrify and delight your friends with at your next public ritual? Or perhaps, you’re just a happy Halloweener, looking for some bombtracks for the next party. No worries, Fellow Traveler… we’ve got you sussed.
Croydon Municipal, as I have mentioned frequently, is an amazing boutique label. An offshoot of Cherry Red Records, Croydon Municipal is run by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley, who culls his gargantuan record collection to curate brilliantly themed, thoughtful compilations (like his Popcorn Girls collections, or the current Songs For Swinging Ghosts). On All About The Girls, the theme is lost girl group gems, and it is a delight through and through.
When I stated on Facebook that I was watching the 1980 Italian horror-fi movie, Contamination, I got heat from a couple of people.
“How come you’re watching that?”
And I thought, I’ve built a career out of watching horrible films and writing about them. There’s no reason why this should be a surprise.
Then it struck me: maybe there are people out there who don’t intentionally seek out and watch films they know aren’t great. Wow. That floors me. It leaves me wondering how to recommend Contamination, which is a gigantic piece of shit that I adored.
Attention humans: be prepared for your record collection to become marginally spookier, but a whole lot weirder with the delightful new release from Croydon Municipal/Cherry Red Records (and just in time for Halloween), Songs For Swinging Ghosts.
Muscle Shoals keyboard stalwart Spooner Oldham (who has possibly the greatest name of all time) has had his fingers on myriad classic tracks. Co-writing hits like the Boxtops “Cry Like A Baby,” Percy Sledge’s “Out Of Left Field,” and James and Bobby Purify’s “I”m Your Puppet” with collaborator Dan Penn might be enough to secure a spot in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which he was inducted into in 2009), but he also lent his keyboards to music from Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, the Stones, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He’s frequently toured with Neil Young and in 2007, toured with the Drive-By Truckers. His pedigree is incredible.
If there’s one thing Dr. John does well (though he does loads of things well), it’s setting a scene and creating a vibe. In listening to Omnivore Recordings’ Dr. John collection The Atco/Atlantic Singles 1968-1974, there is such a rich, immersive feeling—a deep swamp that reaches slippery fingers up to pull you down—that it is like taking a trip to the Bayou, sans surprise alligators. Dr. John’s mix of blues, funk, and psychedelia is inimitable, much like his trademark boozy vocal yawp. He’s a one of a kind.
The 1970s were a time of sexual revolution. Women’s liberation, bra-burning, birth control pills, swingers, orgies, and who knows what else? It’s not like people didn’t know about sex before, but in the ’70s, sex exploded (which sounds gross). Suburban couples were lining up around the block to see Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door, two pornographic films that found both mainstream success and legal troubles, as both films were placed on trial for obscenity.
Obscenity still has an elastic meaning, and at times the line between artistic license and simple prurient leanings is blurry and hard to see. That’s precisely where 1974’s Immoral Tales lives, in that strange tesseract on the corner of Softcore Porn and Arthouse Loophole.
By Tim Murr
In honor of Italian horror master Dario Argento’s 75th birthday this week, I wanted to take a look back at one my favorites of his films, Deep Red a.k.a. Profondo Rosso from 1975.
It would be all too easy to be cynical about Hee Haw, if you were that sort of person. Corny jokes, country music, Buck Owens wearing his overalls backward (he said it was in silent protest of the cheesiness of the show, but he cashed the checks just the same), all the animated dancing pigs (so many animated dancing pigs, kicking in a chorus line through musical performances, sometimes wearing bikinis. The mind simply reels). But to be cynical about Hee Haw would cause you, the viewer, to miss out on a great TV show, indeed a capsule of a moment in time (or several moments, because Hee Haw aired for 21 years).