Checking Out the Latest Books About Outer Space
1176. Adolph Hofner: South Texax Swing 1177. Billy Holiday & Ella Fitzgerald 1178. Billie Holiday: The Original Recordings 1179. The Billie Holiday Story 1180. Billie Holiday: Stormy Blues 1181. Michael Holliday: The Story of My Life 1182. Hollies: Evolution 1183. The Very Best of the Hollies 1184. Holly and the Italians: The Right to Be Italian 1185. Brenda Holloway: Every Little Bit Hurts 1186. The "Chirping" Crickets 1187. Buddy Holly 1188. Buddy Holly/The Crickets: 20 Golden Greats 1189. Buddy Holly: Legend 1190. Buddy Holly: For the First Time Anywhere Mixworthy: "The Story of My Life," #1181; "Carrie-Anne," #1182; "Pay You Back With Interest," #1183; "Every Little Bit Hurts" and "Land of a Thousand Boys," #1185; "Tell Me How" and "I'm Looking for Someone to Love," #1186; "Peggy Sue," "Look at Me," "Listen to Me," "Baby I Don't Care," and "Rave On," #1187. Michael Holliday's "The Story of My Life" reached #1 in England in 1958, one of a few hits he had there; he never charted at all in North America. It's a song I first came across on an odds-and-ends compilation of British #1s, then later I lucked into the best-of listed above. He's a crooner, basically, but "The Story of My Life" is plain- tive, almost folky, and belongs alongside "Sukiyaki," "Patience," and "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" in the pantheon of whistle-songs...There've been a lot of Michael Jackson threads on ILM lately, usually on the order of "What's on Michael Jackson's iPod right now?" I haven't seen Brenda Holloway's name turn up yet...When my focus was still on albums as opposed to songs, Buddy Holly's solo-billed second LP (#1187) was one of my favourites. I don't think it's quite as famous as its predeces- sor, #1186, but to me it's the real blueprint for the middle-period love songs of the Beatles...I'm not the person to write anything illuminating about Billie Holiday. Although I haven't listed any songs, I do find her more compelling than people of com- parable stature I've bypassed. Maybe too compelling, as I'm not the first to suggest-- she commands your attention so completely, listening to her can definitely feel like work. I always play "Strange Fruit" for my students on her birthday, challenging them to see if they can figure out what's going on. One or two do. Talking afterwards about the context that brought such a song into being is always uncomfortable...How would you like to have been Adolph Hofner, making country-swing records down in Texas during the '40s? Must have been exasperating: "That's Hofner, you idiot--Adolph Hofner, OK?" ________________________________________________________________________________ 1191. Clint Holmes: Playground in My Mind 1192. The Holy Modal Rounders 1193. Holy Modal Rounders: Last Round 1194. Hombres: Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) 1195. Honey Cone: Sweet Replies 1196. Hoodoo Gurus: Stoneage Romeos 1197. Hoodoo Gurus: Mars Needs Guitars! 1198. The Greatest Hits of John Lee Hooker 1199. Lightning Hopkins: Original Folk Blues 1200. Jimmy "Bo" Horne: Dance Across the Floor 1201. 20 Golden Pieces of Lena Horne 1202. Lena Horne: Feelin' Good 1203. Johnny Horton's Greatest Hits 1204. Hot Chocolate: Cicero Park 1205. Housemartins: "Caravan of Love" 12-inch 1206. Housemartins: Now That's What I Call Quite Good Mixworthy: "Give the Fiddler a Dram" and "Bound to Lose," #1192; "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)," #1194; "I Want You Back," #1196; "Bittersweet," #1197. First Bo Donald- son gets shut out, now Clint Holmes. I'm letting down my people. On a related note, although I don't quite like "Want Ads" enough anymore to list it, I nominate Honey Cone as the best-looking girl group of their era, better even than the Shaggs...I've always been a little suspicious of my copy of Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out). No special markings on the album cover, but the record itself is stamped "Special Disc Jockey Record - Not for Sale." Maybe--I have no idea how radio operated in 1967, but I thought it was still strictly a singles medium at that point, and it strikes me as odd that a smaller label like Verve would be sending out promo albums of a local garage band nobody knew from Adam. I've got a bootleg pressing of the In- ternational Submarine Band's Safe at Home, and I wonder if the Hombres album isn't phoney too...Mars Needs Guitars! was among the second batch of records I reviewed for Nerve. I wrote with some embarrassment about how much I liked a couple of Hoodoo Guru songs, but 20 years removed from that, I'm not really sure how I concluded that they were one thing and the Long Ryders another--I seemed to turn so much more serious when reviewing the Long Ryders an issue or two later. Must have been the visuals: the Long Ryders looked like they'd stepped out of a Peckinpah film on their covers, while the Hoodoo Gurus decorated theirs with dinosaurs and cartoons. ________________________________________________________________________________ 1207. Thelma Houston/Commodores: "Don't Leave Me This Way"/"Fancy Dancer" 12-inch 1208. Thelma Houston & Jerry Butler: Two to One 1209. Whitney Houston 1210. Miki Howard: Love Confessions 1211. Miki Howard 1212. Freddie Hubbard: Hub-tones 1213. Best of the Hues Corporation 1214. Human League: Dare! 1215. Human League: Greatest Hits 1216. Human Switchboard: Who's Landing in My Hangar? 1217. Michael Hurley/The Unholy Modal Rounders/Jeffrey Fredericks & the Clamtones: Have Moicy! 1218. Steve "Silk" Hurley: Work It Out Compilation 1219. Mississippi John Hurt: 1928 - His First Recordings Mixworthy: "Don't Leave Me This Way," #1207; "Slurf Song," #1217; "Frankie," #1219. The Human League's "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" is close--my Martha Quinn Problem again (see Culture Club entry). The Miki Howard covers are hilarious. She's got her arms wrapped around her own self on both of them, like she's in the throes of some deep spiritual ecstasy, perhaps even a state of transformative rapture. Such was the wreckage left behind by Anita Baker... Because I got to love "Don't Leave Me This Way" via its inclusion in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, I've always heard it as a very dark song. The Hues Corporation were earlier-- lots of disco was earlier--but it still seems to me to signal a deepening, in 1976, of what the genre could do. Anyone who knows or cares about disco more than I do will shoot that theory down in three seconds flat with a few hundred counter-examples... Among my favourite verses ever, from "The Slurf Song": Oh, I see the dishes over there They fill me with despair Oh, I see the dishes over there They fill me with despair Dishes over there They fill me with despair Have Moicy! also goes back to 1976, year of the Bicentennial. It was a time of joy and celebration across the land, everywhere, that is, except Thelma Houston's heart and Michael Hurley's kitchen. ________________________________________________________________________________ 1220. Hüsker Dü: Land Speed Record 1221. Hüsker Dü: Everything Falls Apart 1222. Hüsker Dü: Metal Circus 1223. Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade 1224. Hüsker Dü: New Day Rising 1225. Hüsker Dü: Flip Your Wig 1226. Hüsker Dü: Candy Apple Grey 1227. Hüsker Dü: Warehouse: Songs and Stories 1228. Willie Hutch/Eddie Kendricks: "Shake It, Shake It"/"Goin' Up in Smoke" 12-inch 1229. Ice-T: The Iceberg: Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say 1230. Golden Hits of Frank Ifield 1231. Imagination: All the Hits 1232. We Are the Imperials Featuring Little Anthony 1233. Impressions: The Vintage Years 1234. Incredible String Band: The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter Mixworthy: "Everything Falls Apart," #1221; "Real World" and "It's Not Funny Any- more," #1222; "Something I Learned Today," #1223; "Books About UFOs," #1224; "Flip Your Wig," "Makes No Sense at All," and "Divide and Conquer," #1225; "Tears on My Pillow," #1232; "For Your Precious Love" and "Giving Up on Love," #1233. I don't feel the need to relisten to any Hüsker Dü; I've listed the same eight songs I would have listed 20 years ago, with the other two spots reserved for "Eight Miles High" and "Love Is All Around," both 45-only. The only other music that ever domi- nated my life to the extent that Hüsker Dü's did from Metal Circus through to their break-up was Neil Young's my last three years of high school. (I've recently down- loaded pretty much the entirety of Stereolab's output, but the non-Stereolab part of my life proceeds exactly as before. It's not quite the same thing.) The timing was perfect. Metal Circus came out as I was heading into my final year of university-- I didn't hear the two earlier, lesser releases till later--and everything about the record and the group just clicked with me. It was loud and abrasive, like most of what I listened to at the time, but there was also a majestic wash of songcraft and melody carrying the din along, and that spoke to the 12-year-old pop fan in me who'd never really forgotten "Hello It's Me" and "Baby Blue," even if I hadn't given them any thought for years. It's a little harder to reconstruct how the words hit me-- meaning there was a lot about myself then I don't necessarily want to think about now--but they got those exactly right too. After a step back with Zen Arcade (the record generally singled out as their greatest; I've always been in the minority there), they went farther with New Day Rising, farther still with Flip Your Wig, then finished with two albums that, even though I don't have room to list anything from either, were both very good. I was right with them the whole way, and when they packed it in at the precise moment when my own tastes were starting to change drasti- cally, the timing was again perfect. How imperfect the timing was for Hüsker Dü is something you could think about for a long time and not get anywhere. They affected me much more than Nirvana did, but the fact remains that Hüsker Dü didn't reach even 1% of the people "Smells Like Teen Spirit" did, and there's no reason to think they would have under any circumstances. They likely wouldn't even be famous if Metal Circus had come out eight years later than it did--I'm pretty sure they didn't have a video as monumental as the one for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" anywhere inside them, the launch point for everything that transpired with Nirvana, and absent that, Metal Circus might have come and gone quietly in 1991, with not even enough critical inter- est to secure a follow-up. So maybe the timing was perfect for them, too--not on a personal level (you read some very strange stories about Grant Hart), and not finan- cially, either, but in creating the context in which they thrived: Michael Jackson and Madonna and Bruce Springsteen doing important things over there, but for anyone who didn't need to hear about that, there was Hüsker Dü doing important things over here, and doing them so amazingly well that over here felt like a world much, much bigger than it ever actually was.