What People Mean by Down and Out

1464. Led Zeppelin 1465. Led Zeppelin II 1466. Led Zeppelin III 1467. Led Zeppelin IV 1468. Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy 1469. Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti 1470. Led Zeppelin: Presence 1471. Led Zeppelin: In Through the Out Door 1472. Brenda Lee: Sincerely 1473. Here's Brenda Lee 1474. The Brenda Lee Story: Her Greatest Hits 1475. Jack Lee's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 1476. Julia Lee: "Party Time" Mixworthy: "Good Times Bad Times" and "Your Time Is Gonna Come," #1464; "Whole Lotta Love," #1465; "That's the Way" and "Brony-y-aur Stomp," #1466; "Black Dog," "Misty Mountain Hop," and "Four Sticks," #1467; "Over the Hills and Far Away," #1468; "Black Country Woman," #1469. My absolute favourite Led Zeppelin might be two partial songs: the first couple of minutes of "How Many More Times" (#1464) and the last minute of "The Ocean" (#1468). Spent: I'll exempt "Stairway to Heaven," which to me is neither here nor there at this point, so I guess that leaves "Rock and Roll," "When the Levee Breaks," and "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)" as the greatest Led Zeppelin songs I've heard too often. My favourite thing ever written about Led Zeppelin is Billy Altman's reference to "the indescribably chaotic 'Black Dog'" in The Rolling Stone Record Guide. That one short phrase has been lodged in the back of my mind for 25 years; besides getting "Black Dog" exactly right--what a monumentally bizarre song; I can't imagine anyone actually sitting down to write "Black Dog"--it captures something fundamental about Led Zeppelin in general, their indescribability as much as how chaotic they could be. The true mark of genius to me is when you hear or look at or read something and wonder, "Where did that come from?" I think that all the time when I listen to Led Zeppelin. They were so far off on their own tangent at times, and had such an extra- ordinarily intuitive understanding of what they were doing at a time when the big concern seemed to be how much they were stealing from the blues--a complaint that now seems insanely funny--that to this day I see no credible points of comparison with what came before them, what was around while they were making records, or what followed in their wake. The Beatles sort of go with the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground kind of belong with the Stooges and the Dolls, but who can sensibly be compared to Led Zeppelin? Black Sabbath? Deep Purple? Thor? There's an unbridgeable gap in complexity, in surprise, in playfulness, and in all-around inventiveness right down the line. Meanwhile, their chaotic side was marked by a purity and a spontaneity that seems even more impressive to me than, say, the chaos of Funhouse, as great a record as that is. The Stooges obviously made it their mission to record the most chaotic album anyone had ever heard, and many would say they succeeded. I doubt that Led Zeppelin ever had anything similar in mind with "Whole Lotta Love," "Black Dog," or "Misty Mountain Hop"--I think they just wanted to make the loudest and liveliest noise they were capable of--but chaotic those songs are, with enough going on in any one of them for five songs. And then there's the improbable delicacy of their slow stuff ("That's the Way"), their gift, when they felt like using it, for pop music ("Over the Hills and Far Away"), and their inexplicable ability to pull off something like "Fool in the Rain." (The timing of In Through the Out Door prevented it from ever becoming a part of my life--I didn't buy it until years later--but they definitely signed off with a flourish.) I'll stop there, because I'm just going around in cir- cles. They've regrettably been replaced by Pink Floyd as the house behemoth on Q-107, but Led Zeppelin's place on the shortlist of greatest-ever otherwise seems to become less and less a point of contention with each passing year. Sui generis to the max, give or take a borrowed blues chord or two for anyone still keeping track. _______________________________________________________________________________ 1477. Peggy Lee Sings With Benny Goodman 1478. Black Coffee With Peggy Lee 1479. Peggy Lee with Orchestra Conducted by Frank Sinatra: The Man I Love 1480. The Best of Peggy Lee 1481. Peggy Lee: Is That All There Is? 1482. Legal Weapon: Your Weapon 1483. Michel Legrand and His Orchestra: Music From the Films 1484. Lemon Pipers: Green Tambourine 1485. Leningrad Jazz Ensemble: 15 Years Later 1486. Plastic Ono Band: Live Peace in Toronto 1487. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band 1488. John Lennon: Rock 'N' Roll 1489. John Lennon: Shaved Fish 1490. John Lennon/Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy 1491. John Lennon: Menlove Ave. 1492. Alan Jay Lerner: Lyrics by Lerner 1493. LeRoi Brothers: Protection From Enemies 1494. Ketty Lester: The Soul of Me 1495. Ketty Lester: Where Is Love? Mixworthy: "I'm Glad There Is You (In This World of Ordinary People)," #1480; "Green Tambourine," #1484; "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)" and "#9 Dream," #1489. I in- cluded Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is" on the Scorsese CD-700 referred to back in the Jeff Beck section, and After Hours was indeed my introduction to a song unusual enough that it's bound to make an impression the first time you hear it. The more I do, though, the gimmickier it seems. No copy of Imagine--I'm surprised I didn't buy it around the time that John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band was one of my most listened-to albums in high school, but for some reason I never did. The latter is as singular as Joy Division, and once I played it out I never went back. (Which I wouldn't say, by the way, of Neil Young's Tonight's the Night. I could take that out tomorrow and "Tired Eyes," "Albuquerque," "Roll Another Number," and "Come On Baby, Let's Go Downtown" would still sound great re- moved from the context of their album.) "#9 Dream" is a tough call, but I listed it: a mostly pleasant but non-descript bit of fluff in the service of a chorus that ranks among Lennon's most beautiful creations ever. _______________________________________________________________________________ 1496. Let's Active: Cypress 1497. Let's Active: Big Plans for Everybody 1498. Let's Active: Every Dog Has His Day 1499. LeVert: The Big Throwdown 1500. LeVert: Just Coolin' 1501. Barbara Lewis: Golden Classics 1502. George Lewis 1503. Huey Lewis and the News: Sports 1504. More Jerry Lewis 1505. Jerry Lee Lewis: Original Golden Hits - Volume 1 1506. Jerry Lee Lewis: Original Golden Hits - Volume 2 1507. Jerry Lee Lewis: Original Golden Hits - Volume 3 1508. Jerry Lee Lewis: "Monsters" 1509. Jerry Lee Lewis and Friends: Duets 1510. Rare Jerry Lee Lewis, Volume 1 1511. Rare Jerry Lee Lewis, Volume 2 1512. Jerry Lee Lewis: The Return of Rock 1513. Jerry Lee Lewis: When Two Worlds Collide Mixworthy: "Hello Stranger," "Think a Little Sugar," and "How Can I Say Goodbye," #1501; "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On" and "Lewis Boogie," #1505. I love talking about Jerry Lee Lewis with my students--I tell them the (maybe apoc- ryphal, I don't know) Graceland story where he shows up outside the gates at some ungodly hour screaming "I'm the king of rock and roll!", which I always preface by dramatically announcing that "The thing you have to understand about Jerry Lee Lewis is that he's completely nuts"--but, as you can see by the nine-albums/two-songs ratio above, I'm not the biggest fan. Not sure why, but I just never took to either him or Elvis as easily as I did to Berry, Holly, or Diddley. I also tell the kids about his marriage to Myra, and, as landmines go, that one's a lot of fun to navigate: "There were three small problems: Mr. Lewis was still married, Myra was his cousin, and, uh, oh yeah, she was 14 years old"...Barbara Lewis, on the other hand, is probably my favourite female singer of the early '60s, ahead of Ronnie Spector, Dionne Warwick, or anybody else. I've included her on numerous tapes for other people, and I never know which of the three songs above I should go with. "Hello Stranger" is like the anti-"Walk on By": Warwick is all about shutting out and shutting down, whereas Lewis transforms a few lines of simple small talk into the warmest, most sexual renewal of friendship imaginable...One more Lewis: Jerola. I'll send these liner notes, written by the singer himself, out to my friend Peter: "I discovered my aptitude for music early in life. At the tender age of eight I stuck my father's head in the stove and sang, 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.'" Hey, layyyydeee, nice lady person... _______________________________________________________________________________ 1514. Jimmy Lewis and the Checkers: Yeah, Right 1515. John Lewis: The Wonderful World of Jazz 1516. Gordon Lightfoot: Sit Down Young Stranger 1517. Gordon Lightfoot: Gord's Gold 1518. Lime: "Your Love" 12-inch 1519. Lime: The Greatest Hits 1520. Lime: Unexpected Lovers 1521. Lime Spiders: Slave Girl 1522. Abbey Lincoln's Affair...A Story of a Girl in Love 1523. Lindisfarne: Back and Fourth 1524. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force 1525. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam: Spanish Fly 1526. Little Richard 1527. Little Richard: His Biggest Hits 1528. The Fabulous Little Richard 1529. Little Richard: The Original 1530. Little Richard: Get Down With It Mixworthy: "If You Could Read My Mind," #1516; "Summer Side of Life," #1517; "The Girl Can't Help It" and "Lucille," #1526; "The Commandments of Love," #1530. Did I just say something about Jerry Lee Lewis being completely nuts? Let me back up a bit--maybe he's not so bad after all...I got my copies of #1526 and #1528 signed when Little Richard was on a promotional tour for Charles White's The Life and Times of Little Richard. Same inscription on both, "To Phil, God Bless You, Little Richard," perfectly in keeping with the spiritual gravity of the book: "One time we were playing at the Paramount Theater and Buddy came into my dres- sing room while I was jacking off with Angel sucking my titty...she opened up her legs and he put it in her. He was having sex with Angel, I was jacking off, and Angel was sucking me, when they introduced his name on stage!" (Just to clarify, it's not Buddy Ebsen who walked in.) I'm actually surprised he con- sented to sign the albums in place of the book; doubtful he'd be so obliging in the age of eBay. Anyway, as with Jerry Lee but somewhat less so, my interest in Little Richard has waned over the years. "The Girl Can't Help It" is amazing--first time I ever heard it was in Pink Flamingos--"Lucille" has always sounded imposingly sinister to me, and "The Commandments of Love" is a great ballad from his Okeh period in the mid-60s. Out- side of that, I have a hard time looking beyond the caricature at this point and hear- ing things like "Tutti Frutti," "Keep a Knockin'," and "Rip It Up" fresh. His claim to have been the inventor of all this stuff seems as valid as anyone's, though. If he accidentally helped invent Rip Taylor and Richard Simmons along the way, that's more than a fair trade-off...I spent approximately two years in the mid-80s doing inter- views for Nerve and another local publication. People I spoke to during the first half of that run: Joey Ramone, Bob Mould, Richard Berry, Johnny Thunders, Paul Westerberg, Greil Marcus. Towards the end: Lisa Lisa, LaToya Jackson, Apollonia. I can't quite put it into words, but something happened between Point A and Point B. _______________________________________________________________________________ 1531. Little Willie John: Sure Things 1532. L.L. Cool J: Radio 1533. L.L. Cool J: Bad 1534. L.L. Cool J: "Going Back to Cali" 12-inch 1535. Hank Locklin: Queen of Hearts 1536. Jackie Lomax: Three 1537. Guy Lombardo: A Legendary Performer 1538. London 1539. London Boys: The Twelve Commandments of Dance 1540. Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers: Out After Dark 1541. Long Ryders: 10-5-60 1542. Long Ryders: Native Sons 1543. Long Ryders: State of Our Union 1544. Claudine Longet: Claudine 1545. Denise Lopez: Truth in Disguise 1546. Jeff Lorber: Private Passion 1547. Los Lobos: "...And a Time to Dance" 1548. Los Lobos: How Will the Wolf Survive? Mixworthy: "Looking for Lewis and Clark," #1543; "Sayin' Sorry (Don't Make It Right)," #1545. I'd live fine without either one, but again, I want to list something without having to go through 30 albums. I don't remember anything from the Little Willie John LP (not the one written up in Stranded), only that I bought it in Quebec, and all the commotion over the two Los Lobos records baffled me at the time. Spent: L.L. Cool J, tough guy; there's pop stuff on his best-of I like. Here's a story I've told many times. It's from Dave Bookman, a local DJ/musician who used to be on CIUT the same time I was. Dave's band once opened for the Long Ryders. Dave: "I love how on State of Our Union there's a liner note saying 'The Long Ryders wish success and happiness to all bands.' The only thing they said to us the whole night was, 'Hey, buddy, can you get your van out of the way?'"

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