This Week’s Theme: Themeless
This week’s Faux Show doesn’t have an overall theme. Instead I have pulled together some songs I have been saving, some birthdays, some In Memoriams, some new stuff, and a variety of songs that all go together as mini-themes.
Welcome to Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 5.
First things first – click a link to start listening and then come back to read about this week’s songs.
Artist of the Week: Phil Collins
One of the best examples of a recording artist who people either love or hate is Phil Collins. His solo work is definitely not loved by all, especially his adult contemporary balladry and pop hits. His work with Genesis on their albums Invisible Touch and We Can’t Dance is found by some to be unlistenable. However, his work from the mid-80s on is also the only Phil Collins output that some people enjoy. I personally can take or leave most of his work during this later period, so I am going to focus instead on the Phil Collins that I love – Phil Collins the drummer.
Even if people know that Collins is a drummer, they mostly think of him as a vocalist for his solo hit songs like “Sussudio,” “In The Air Tonight,” and “Against All Odds” and his Genesis hits like “Invisible Touch,” “That’s All,” and “Misunderstanding.” I enjoy most of these songs, but I much prefer his work from the ’70s and early ’80s as a drummer for the various Genesis lineups and his session work for some of the most important artists of the period.
Genesis and Session Work
The complete list of songs featuring Collins on drums is much too long to include them all, but here are some highlights.
Peter Gabriel-era Genesis: Every song from their third album, Nursery Cryme, in 1971 through The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway in 1974 features Collins on drums. This set of four albums presents a high-water mark for anyone who likes British progressive rock music. Genesis never got the attention in the US of bands like Yes or ELP, but these four albums are now looked upon as some of the best of the era. Although it is hard not to focus on the vocal brilliance of Peter Gabriel, one of the main reasons these albums are so fantastic is the drumming of Collins. These albums provided him with a chance to perfect his craft, and by the time they recorded Lamb Lies Down he had become one of the best rock drummers of the era.
Phil Collins-era Genesis: Every song from A Trick Of The Tail (1976) through We Can’t Dance (1991). Most people became aware of Genesis after they recorded their eleventh album, Abacab, in 1981. MTV aired a few of the songs and the band’s move toward a more pop-oriented sound started to take hold. However, the four albums released prior to this one are masterpieces of prog-rock. Even though there are some shorter, single-based recordings on these records, the majority of the songs are fantastic prog-rock compositions driven by Collins’ outstanding drumming.
As if his work with Genesis as drummer, and then later as vocalist, wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Collins’ session work includes dozens of recordings from the ’70s and ’80s.
Brian Eno: Collins appears on Taking Tiger Mountain and Another Green World.
Peter Gabriel 3 (Melt): Collins is the drummer on several songs, including album opener “Intruder,” the first use of gated reverb (more on that in a moment).
Robert Plant: Collins is the drummer for most of the songs on Plant’s Pictures At Eleven and The Principle Of Moments.
If there is one thing that everyone should know about Phil Collins the drummer, but don’t know, it is his importance as one of the innovators of gated reverb. I won’t attempt to explain the technical aspects of this effect – you can read about that on your own.
What is important to know is that this effect was THE drum sound of the ’80s, and the first use of it was recorded by Collins for the Peter Gabriel song “Intruder” in 1980. It was most famously used for the Collins song “In The Air Tonight.” After that it was used extensively throughout the decade, becoming one of the defining sounds of the MTV-era of pop music.
Here are just a few examples of gated reverb from the ’80s.
Happy Birthday (January 30)
Happy Birthday (January 30)
Ahmed Abdul-Malik was a double bassist and oud player best known for his work with Thelonius Monk in1958 on the albums Misterioso and Thelonius in Action. His solo debut, Jazz Sahara, was also recorded in 1958 and features Abdul-Malik on bass and oud. This album is important as one of the first to fuse world music (Middle Eastern) with jazz.
Andy Anderson was Robert Smith’s drummer from 1983-84 on both his side-project Blue Sunshine and his Cure recordings. Anderson is the drummer for the sessions that produced the song Lovecats and the album The Top.
Phil Collins is famous – see Artist of the Week.
Roy Eldridge was a jazz trumpet player whose virtuosic solos during the swing era of the ’30s and ’40s was a precursor to bebop. He was the bridge between Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie, and was therefore one of the most influential jazz musicians of his era. He was also influential as one of the only black musicians allowed to perform with the white bands of the time, although he still had to deal with blatant racism as soon as the band left the stage and got on the tour bus. His band leader Gene Krupa even spent time in jail for arguing with restaurant owners who refused to serve Eldridge while on the road. He continued to perform until he was seventy years old and is a member of the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.
Steve Marriott was the leader of British band Small Faces and then Humble Pie. Marriott was an amazing rock vocalist, and has been named an influence by singers including Ozzy Ozbourne, Paul Stanley, and Steve Perry. Marriott died tragically in a house fire at the age of 44.
Jody Watley began her career as a Soul Train dancer at the age of fourteen. She and her partner Jeffrey Daniel were two of the most popular dancers on the show and this led to Soul Train producer Don Cornelius selecting them to create the R&B group Shalamar. As a member of Shalamar, Watley was able to showcase her vocal talents, and was part of the successful version of the band in the late ’70s and early ’80s. After leaving the band in 1983, she focused on her solo career and after five years of hard work she released her debut album, Jody Watley, in 1987. This led to her winning the 1988 Best New Artist Grammy Award. Throughout her career, both as a dancer and vocalist, she has been a fashion icon. She has maintained a successful solo career for over thirty years and was recently ranked #53 on the Billboard List of Top Female Artists.
Here are Jody Watley and fellow Shalamar co-founder Jeffrey Daniel performing on Soul Train. Watley discusses her time on Soul Train and you can even watch their infamous choreographed fight scene.
Louie Anderson died on January 21, 2022. He was a stand-up comic, actor, writer, and tv game show host. His career exploded in the ’80s and within just a few years he went from being an unknown comic to a household name and movie actor. He never stopped being a headlining standup comic, but he also was the first host of Family Feud after Richard Dawson left the show and won an Emmy for his role in the comedy show Baskets. He was a very funny man.
Marilyn Bergman died on January 8, 2022. She was a songwriting partner with her husband Alan Bergman. Their songs include “The Windmills Of Your Mind,” “The Way We Were,” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” They won three Oscars, three Emmies, and a Grammy and are members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Meat Loaf died on January 20, 2022. There is a lot that can be said about the career of Meat Loaf, so I am going to focus on just two highlights. The most well-known fact is that his album Bat Out Of Hell, co-written and produced with Jim Steinman, is the fifth best-selling album of all time. The other fact, that is often overlooked, is that Meat Loaf co-starred in Fight Club and, most importantly, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (he was Eddie).
Bob Saget died on January 9, 2022. Saget was a stand-up comic who mastered the dirty-joke genre of comedy. He was a direct heir to the work of comics like Don Rickles and Buddy Hackett, although he went much further into the “you can’t say that” area of joke-telling. Amazingly, he was also one of the most beloved TV Dads of all time from his work on Full House, a role that presented him as the exact opposite of his stand-up persona. He was also the voice of the narrator for the show How I Met Your Mother. Finally, he was the original host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. In addition to all of that, he was one of the most beloved, beneficent, and supportive comedians working today.
Ronnie Spector died on January 12, 2022. She was the original bad girl of rock and roll. She and her sister were the original members of the group that became The Ronettes. This group’s music, produced by genius/asshole Phil Spector, is arguably the best of the ’60s girl group genre. Her life after the breakup of The Ronettes in 1967 is a sad story that you can read about yourself. She was one of the first female rock and roll icons.
J. Geils Band “Centerfold” (#1 11/28/81)
Eddie Rabbitt “Drivin’ My Life Away” (#5 7/26/80)
Meat Loaf “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” (#39 9/16/78)
The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (#2 9/14/63)
Small Faces “Itchycoo Park” (#16 1/13/68)
Barbra Streisand “The Way We Were” (#1 12/22/73)
Tommy Tutone “867-5309/Jenny” (#4 3/13/82)
2 for “Two”day
The Cure “The Caterpillar” and “The Lovecats”
Bill Fay “I Hear You Calling (Still Some Light” and “Dust Filled Room”
Bruce Springsteen “Did You Say Such a Thing (with John Mellencamp)” and “Pink Cadillac”
Black Country, New Road “Chaos Space Marine”
Bill Fay “I Hear You Calling (Still Some Light” (new release of original home demos from 1972)
John Mellencamp with Bruce Springsteen “Did You Say Such a Thing”
Lauren Spencer-Smith “Fingers Crossed”
Spoon “The Hardest Cut”
Jeff Tweedy “Gwendolyn (Live)”
Tai Verdes “LAst dAy oN EaRTH”
Wet Leg “Too Late Now”
A Little Jazz
Ahmed Abdul-Malik “Farah ‘Alaiyna (Joy Upon Us)”: This song is from Abdul-Malik’s 1958 solo debut, Jazz Sahara. The album features Abdul-Malik on bass and oud and is important as one of the first to fuse world music (Middle Eastern) with jazz.
Roy Eldridge “Echoes of Harlem”: Nicknamed “Little Jazz,” Eldridge was most famous for his big band work, but he also recorded in small groups as well. This song was recorded with Eldridge’s “Little Jazz” Ensemble and His Gramercy Five.
First Ladies Of Jazz
Mildred Bailey “Shoutin’ In That Amen Corner”: Bailey was The Queen of Swing in the 1930s. She was a Native American jazz vocalist best known for her song “Rockin’ Chair,” but “Shoutin’ In That Amen Corner” is my favorite of her tunes. She was good friends with Bing Crosby, who helped her out of financial troubles throughout her career when she was unable to work due to illness. She struggled with diabates and died tragically young at the age of 44, just before other stars of the ’30s were given second careers in the ’50s and ’60s. She was the first popular white female jazz singer, able to master the vocal style and phrasing of her black contemporaries. She is now long forgotten, but if you like Billie Holiday then you should investigate Bailey’s recordings.
The Boswell Sisters “Shuffle Off To Buffalo”: The Boswell Sisters were a jazz vocal trio in the ’30s. They used a mix of close harmony singing, scat, invented language, tempo/rhythm/key changes, and blends of different song lyrics to create a unique style that sounds like nothing from before, during, or after their brief moment of popularity. The main thing to know about them is that they will make you smile, so go track down a collection of their recordings and have some fun.
Maxine Sullivan “Loch Lamond”: Sullivan rose to stardom in 1937 with this song. She was an influential jazz vocalist who paved the way for Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Although she is now lost in the shadows of Ella, Billie, Sarah, and others, she continued to record and perform for over fifty years up until her death in 1987.
3 Chunks of Funk
Shalamar “A Night To Remember”: This is the first track from the group’s 1982 album Friends. The song is famous for introducing the dance style called body popping to the UK on the tv show Top of the Pops.
Jimmy Smith “Funky Broadway”: This is from Smith’s 1967 album Respect.
Tower of Power “Only So Much Oil In The Ground”: This song is from the band’s 1975 album Urban Renewal.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Louie Anderson “House of Dolls”: This bit is from a 2018 set that was recorded as the album Big Underwear. It makes a light moment of one of the scariest things you could ever encounter – a room full of dolls with their eyes open, staring at you while you try to sleep.
Bob Saget “Bad Gigs Only I Could Remember”: This bit is from a 2017 set that was recorded as the album Zero to Sixty. And now the comedy of Bob Saget.
Record Store Day
Because any day you go to the record store is record store day.
Faux Junior and I recently visited our local record store and came away with a bunch of new purchases. Among the selection of quality cuts were these three.
Defenestration Dali Does Windows: Neither of us had ever heard of this band, but Faux Junior was interested in any band named after this word, which is the act of throwing someone out of a window. It is also the act of removing someone from a position of power, but the band is clearly named after the first definition. Based on the name of the album and the fact that it was released in 1987 on Relativity Records, I was imagining they would sound like one of those bands I used to love back in the day who write funny folk-pop songs, like Color Blind James Experience. Instead, this is a solid set of popcore with some good hooks and quality guitars. For only $2, this is the epitome of a successful blind buy at a record store.
Jimmy Smith Respect: I grabbed a couple of Jimmy Smith albums, including his 1962 classic Bashin’: The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith. This is his first record for Verve and included a big band arranged and conducted by Oliver Nelson and featuring a young Doc Severinson. More intriguing was my purchase of Respect, even if just for the album cover alone. It is a solid set of Smith’s Hammond-B3 organ grooves, and the album cover of Smith doing karate is a classic.
Andy Summers and Robert Fripp I Advanced Masked: This Faux Junior purchase is a 1982 collaboration which features only Fripp and Summers on all instruments. It was recorded prior to the breakup of The Police and just after King Crimson’s return from a multi-year hiatus. As such, it has bits of both bands’ sounds in it, but also sounds like an original collaboration by two master musicians. It is the first of two records by Fripp and Summers, but the album title makes this one much more relevant in today’s world.
The CMJ New Music Report was a crucial publication for alternative music on college radio stations in the ’80s and was ruled by a handful of bands such as U2, The Smiths, The Cure, and R.E.M.
The Cure “The Caterpillar” and “The Lovecats”: These two songs are from that magical period when the band transitioned from their original punk/goth sound into the happier pop sound that made them international superstars.
R.E.M. “Can’t Get There From Here”: This is from their third, and arguably best, album, Fables of the Reconstruction.
Spending My Allowance
These songs are from 45s I bought when I was a kid.
J. Geils Band “Centerfold” and Tommy Tutone “867-5309/Jenny”: Two classics from the golden age of MTV.
Eddie Rabbitt “Drivin’ My Life Away”: A revisionist truck song that was a crossover country/pop hit in 1980.
Bruce Springsteen “Pink Cadillac”: This is actually the B-side to the single “Dancing In The Dark”, but I played it much more than the A-side.
Seal of Approval: Jeff Tweedy
Jeff Tweedy “Gwendolyn (Live)”: This is from a great new set of live recordings called Live is the King. It is a live version of his 2020 album Love Is The King.
Bill Fay “I Hear You Calling (Still Some Light” and “Dust Filled Room”: This early ’70s singer/songwriter was forgotten for almost forty years until his only two albums, from 1970 and 1971, were reissued in the late ’90s. Jeff Tweedy performs one of Fay’s songs during a segment of the great 2002 documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. Wilco has since added Fay songs to their live set and others have finally taken notice fifty years later. Fay released his third album over forty years after his debut, and a brand new record of home demos called Still Some Light was just released.
|1||Spoon||The Hardest Cut|
|2||Wet Leg||Too Late Now|
|3||The Cure||The Caterpillar|
|4||The Cure||The Lovecats|
|5||R.E.M.||Can’t Get There From Here|
|6||Defenestration||Takes a Few Days|
|7||Robert Fripp and Andy Summers||Hardy Country|
|8||Jimmy Smith||Funky Broadway|
|9||Tower of Power||Only So Much Oil In The Ground|
|10||Shalamar||A Night To Remember|
|11||Lauren Spencer-Smith||Fingers Crossed|
|12||Barbra Streisand||The Way We Were|
|13||Jeff Tweedy||Gwendolyn (Live)|
|14||Bill Fay||I Hear You Calling (Still Some Light)|
|15||Bill Fay||Dust Filled Room|
|16||Louie Anderson||House of Dolls|
|17||Bob Saget||Bad Gigs Only I Could Remember|
|18||Ahmed Abdul-Malik||Farah ‘Alaiyna (Joy Upon Us)|
|19||Roy Eldridge||Echoes of Harlem|
|20||Maxine Sullivan||Loch Lomond|
|21||Mildred Bailey||Shoutin’ In That Amen Corner|
|22||The Boswell Sisters||Shuffle Off To Buffalo|
|23||The Ronettes||Be My Baby|
|25||J. Geils Band||Centerfold|
|26||Eddie Rabbitt||Drivin’ My Live Away|
|27||Bruce Springsteen||Pink Cadillac|
|28||John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen||Did You Say Such A Thing|
|29||Genesis||I Know What I Like In Your Wardrobe|
|30||Black Country, New Road||Chaos Space Marine|
|31||Tai Verdes||LAst dAy oN EaRTH|
|32||Small Faces||Itchycoo Park|
|33||Meat Loaf||Paradise By The Dashboard Light|