And Leave Your World Behind
2255. Sailor: Greatest Hits 2256. Dédé Saint Prix: Mi Sé Sa 2257. Saints: (I'm) Stranded 2258. Saints: Casablanca 2259. Saints: All Fools Day 2260. Salt-N-Pepa: A Salt With a Deadly Pepa 2261. Sam & Dave: Double Dynamite 2262. Sam & Dave: Soul Men 2263. The Best of Sam & Dave 2264. Samantha Sang: Emotion 2265. Santa Esmeralda: The House of the Rising Sun 2266. Sky "Sunlight" Saxon & Purple Electricity: "Private Party" 2267. Boz Scaggs: My Time 2268. Scenics: Underneath the Door 2269. Schoolly-D 2270. Schoolly D: Saturday Night 2271. Schoolly D: Smoke Some Kill 2272. Schoolly D: Am I Black Enough for You? Mixworthy: "A Glass of Champagne," #2255; "(I'm) Stranded," #2257; "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," #2261; "P.S.K. 'What Does It Mean'?" and "Gucci Time," #2269; "Signifying Rapper," #2271. One last Roxy Music postscript: a good indicator that you're completely out to lunch when it comes to artist A is if artist B's cheesy imitation--in this case, Sailor's "Glass of Champagne"--sounds better than the real thing. I'm usually the humourless drudge who prefers the original, but in this instance I'd take the fake...Salt-N-Pepa are a perfect example of the way my hip-hop timeline is almost always in a state of permanent erosion. When "Whatta Man" and "Shoop" were on the radio, I remember think- ing how much more alive and interesting they seemed than "Push It" or A Salt With a Deadly Pepa. A couple of months ago I bought a dollar copy of Very Necessary, and "Whatta Man" sounds even more dated to me right now than "Push It" did in 1993. I've made this point already as I work my way through this, but I bring it up again be- cause Schoolly-D is the exception that proves the rule. I hardly ever listen to him anymore, but on the rare occasion when I do go back to his first LP, "P.S.K." and "Gucci Time" sound as weird and as menacing as ever. The slow-motion drugginess of both the production and Schoolly's delivery are primarily what keep those songs vital for me, and the shock-value of what then amounted to a breakthrough in lyrical filth still counts for something too. I'm aware that Schoolly wasn't the first to go down that road, but he did generate a lot of debate at the time by upping the ante signif- icantly. These days, I can listen to 50 Cent celebrate anal sex on mainstream radio while driving to work in the morning. I'm glad to say I still feel a degree of shock when stuff like that is done convincingly enough, which it is in 50 Cent's case. Not appalled--I'm even more glad I haven't reached that stage yet, which'll be a good time to stop paying attention altogether--but still somewhat shocked. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2273. Jack Scott: Burning Bridges 2274. Scratch Acid: Beserker 2275. Screaming Bamboo: World of Tomorrow 2276. Scritti Politti: Songs to Remember 2277. Scritti Politti: Cupid & Psyche 85 2278. Scritti Politti: Provision 2279. "Wanna' Meet the Scruffs?" 2280. Scruffy the Cat: Boom Boom Boom Bingo 2281. Sea Level: On the Edge 2282. The Searchers' Smash Hits 2283. The Golden Hour of the Searchers 2284. The Searchers 2285. Searchers: Love's Melodies 2286. Secession: A Dark Enchantment 2287. The Secrets 2288. Seeds: Raw & Alive 2289. Seeds: Fallin' Off the Edge Mixworthy: "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)," #2277; "My Mind," #2279; "Take Me for What I'm Worth," #2282; "Don't Throw Your Love Away," #2283; "Pushin' Too Hard," #2289. I'm guessing the Scruffs album is hard to find--couldn't have been more than a few thousand pressed. An enthusiastic entry in Christgau's '70s book is the only reason I know about it. They're OK--you'd be far better to get acquainted with the Shoes, but "My Mind"'s good enough to list...I haven’t heard "Wood Beez" in years, but it was a favourite when I started catching up with pop music in the mid-80s. There was also Billy Bragg's "Levi Stubbs' Tears" and ABC's "When Smokey Sings" from that time, plus Al Green's much less convincing "Mick Hucknall's Got My Back"...Going by the back cover of Fallin' Off the Edge, it looks as if all the Seeds LPs were reissued domestically by GNP Crescendo in the late '70s. My copy is a punched-out remainder; no recollection of where I got it, but my guess would be the original Cheapies store on Yonge Street, which carried a lot of American cutouts for under five dollars. I don't think I ever would have passed up any of the others given the opportunity, so Fallin' Off the Edge must have been the only title to make it up here. My copy of Raw & Alive is on Pickwick, a junky reprint label rivalled only by Birchmount in its ubiquity through the late '70s and early '80s. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2290. Senders: Seven Song Super Single 2291. 7 Seconds: New Wind 2292. Severed Heads: Dead Eyes Opened 2293. Severed Heads: Come Visit the Big Bigot 2294. Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols 2295. Sex Pistols: The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle 2296. Sex Pistols: Blank Tapes [Winterland bootleg] 2297. Sex Pistols: Better Live Than Dead 2298. S'Express: Original Soundtrack 2299. Shadrock: Bottom Line 2300. Shadrock: "D.J." 12-inch 2301. Shaggs: Philosophy of the World 2302. Shalamar: Three for Love 2303. Shalamar: Go for It 2304. Shalamar: "Dead Giveaway" 12-inch 2305. Shalamar: "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills" 12-inch Mixworthy: "Holidays in the Sun," "God Save the Queen," "Anarchy in the U.K.," and "E.M.I.," #2294. I'll take the easy way out with the Sex Pistols and link to something I wrote 10 years ago on the occasion of their widely ridiculed reunion tour; I'm not any more eager to try writing about them today than I was then. I think it takes a lot of energy and a certain kind of clearheadedness to write well about the Sex Pistols, an ability to burn through everything around the edges that muddles their story and place yourself squarely in that moment; Jon Savage does it in England's Dream- ing, and in a very different way so does Marcus in Lipstick Traces. I came late to the moment, so no matter how much of an impact they had on my life anyway, it always feels like a moment apart. I even left them off a punk CD-700 I made last week for the woman whose radio show precedes mine. (The CD, a belated wedding gift, was the first history-of-punk compilation I'd made in a number of years. Now that I'm manip- ulating computer files rather than taping from albums, I'm too lazy to put things in chronological order; I just click through alphabetically by artist, skipping back and forth across time and place.) I can't rationally account for their omission, but for whatever reason, not having them on there felt right...Everyone should hear the Shaggs once: it's an experience, and it'll ensure that any jokes about them that you come across will make sense. Twice is a very personal decision that must be carefully thought through on a case-by-case basis. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2306. Sham 69: Tell Us the Truth 2307. M.C. Shan: Down by Law 2308. M.C. Shan: Born to Be Wild 2309. Shangri-Las: Teen Anguish Volume Two 2310. Del Shannon: The Vintage Years 2311. The Best of Del Shannon 2312. Shannon: Let the Music Play 2313. Shannon: "Do You Wanna Get Away" 12-inch 2314. Shannon: Love Goes All the Way 2315. Helen Shapiro: The E.P. Collection 2316. Artie Shaw: The Complete Gramercy Five Sessions 2317. Artie Shaw and His Orchestra: The Beat of the Big Bands 2318. Marlena Shaw: Sweet Beginnings 2319. Woody Shaw: Master of the Art 2320. Shocky Shay: No Joke 2321. Pete Shelley: Sky Yen 2322. Ricky Van Shelton: Loving Proof 2323. Archie Shepp: Four for Trane 2324. Archie Shepp: The Dedication Series/Vol. XVII: Further Fire Music Mixworthy: "Give Him a Great Big Kiss," "Train From Kansas City," and "Out in the Streets," #2309; "Runaway," #2310; "The Man I Love," #2317. I haven't designated anything as spent in a long time, but "Leader of the Pack" and "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" are pretty close. They're too ingenious, though, and I like the Shangri- Las too much, to send them packing. Shannon's "Let the Music Play" is a heroic landmark to disco historians: its appear- ance during the doldrums of the early-80s backlash gives it a desperate, raging- against-the-dying-of-the-light quality similar to something like Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes." All of which I admire, but it also has the kind of gothic, minor-key sound that I almost always find off-putting...Here are some details on Pete Shelley's Sky Yen. I used to have a rule that I had to play anything I bought at least once from start to finish, so I must have made it all the way through Sky Yen, too, but only after first bolting down all windows and doors and sealing off all exits...I wrote in Radio On how I really liked M.C. Shan's cameo on Snow's "In- former." Shan seemed to disappear from view immediately thereafter, so I'm guess- ing there was much less enthusiasm in Compton and Bed-Stuy. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2325. Vonda Shepard 2326. The Sheppards 2327. Bobby Sherman's Greatest Hits Volume 1 2328. Robin Shier Quintet: Depth of Field 2329. Shinehead: Unity 2330. Shirley and Company: Shame, Shame, Shame 2331. The Shirelles' Greatest Hits 2332. The Shirelles' Greatest Hits Vol. II 2333. Shirelles: Lost and Found 2334. Michelle Shocked: Short Sharp Shocked 2335. Shoes: Black Vinyl Shoes 2336. Shoes: Present Tense 2337. Shoes: Tongue Twister 2338. Shoes: Boomerang 2339. Shoes: Silhouette Mixworthy: "Island of Love" and "Never Felt This Way Before," #2326; "Little Woman" and "Julie, Do Ya Love Me," #2327; "Shame, Shame, Shame," #2330; "Soldier Boy," "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," and "It's Love That Really Counts," #2331; "Boys" and "I Met Him on a Sunday," #2332; "Boys Don't Lie," "Not Me," "Capital Gain," and "Nowhere So Fast," #2335; "Tomorrow Night," "Too Late," and "Now and Then," #2336; "Yes or No," #2337; "Curiosity," #2338; "Running Wild," #2339. Twenty-three hundred albums in, a multi-artist mixapalooza...I came across a piece on Bobby Sherman in one of the entertainment glossies a couple of days ago, and it said he's been working for the L.A.P.D. the past few years. Darryl Gates, Rodney King, Mark Fuhrman, O.J. Simpson, N.W.A., Bobby Sherman--yeah, that sounds about right. He's been working in a non-uniformed capacity, which is too bad, because I can't think of anything that would make for higher drama than turning on Cops one night and seeing Danny Bonaduce getting cuffed by Bobby Sherman. Here Come the Bloods, Bobby's book on his years with the force, is supposedly quite good...When Wanda Jackson passed through Toronto a few weeks ago, a local writer had a piece advocating for her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (an institution I haven't mentioned for ages--I was strangely fixated on it during the early stages of this inventory). To prove her point, she did what I and everybody else does when addressing a perceived HOF oversight, be it Cleveland, Cooperstown, or otherwise: she listed a few of the more glaringly weaker candidates already in there, most of whom I mentioned myself when writing about the issue as it related to Tommy James. One of the artists she listed was the Shirelles, though. Huh? The idea that Wanda Jackson should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ahead of the Shirelles has to be the silliest thing I've read in a long while. The Shirelles' Greatest Hits is, along with the Ronettes' debut, probably the single greatest album to come out of the the most vital pop genre during the years between Elvis's induction and the arrival of the Beatles (whose earliest albums, for very good reason, included two excellent Shirelles covers). I've listed five songs by them, overlooking a couple of their most famous ("Baby, It's You," "Dedicated to the One I Love") and a bunch of really good ones. I don't know a whole lot about Wanda Jackson--all I have is a budget compilation that may or may not be rerecorded--but I'm pretty sure she's not re- membered for much beyond "Let's Have a Party," which as rockabilly goes is just OK. She's important historically as an early white female rock and roll singer, but so was Pumpsie Green, the first African-American on the Boston Red Sox, the last major league team to integrate. I've never come across any suggestion that that's enough to get him into Cooperstown...If you want to argue that the Shoes should go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I might be with you. (Or might not, because I still haven't figured out the criteria--and hopefully I won't bring the subject up again for another thousand albums). You can see that they're pretty important to me by the 10-song maximum; when I last listed my 10 favourite albums for Jeff Pike's Tapeworm a few years back, Black Vinyl Shoes was one of them. I've had the idea off and on since I first started writing about music that somewhere along the way I'd write something worthwhile on the Shoes; ideally a book, but if not, a substan- tial historical piece for one of those Mojo-type magazines. (If you're wondering why anyone would ever want to read or publish a book on a band you've never heard of, I'll just say that I saw books on both Big Star and Suicide while browsing last Christmas. The comparative fame of the Shoes exists somewhere in between the two-- less famous than Big Star, more famous than Suicide [or at least I think they are-- we're dealing in hard-to-quantify microfame here...]--and they're better than both.) That strange Shoes/Chantels/Minor Threat proposal I made to Ian MacKaye was my first overture in that direction, and I recently resuscitated the idea after downloading Bazooka, the band's never-released 1976 demo album, and finding out that everything that amazes me about them was in place from even before the beginning. As pop ob- sessives go--artists who developed and refined a signature sound to almost mystical lengths--I'm not kidding when I say the Shoes are within shouting distance of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. That was one side of their story, and the other was that they were the nine millionth new-wave band circa 1978 hoping to stumble onto a fluke hit--they were also the Knack and the Cars and the Vapors, the difference being that those groups got lucky and the Shoes didn't. So I'm positive there's a great story there, especially as three-fourths of the group was still hanging in there for 1984's European-only Silhouette, by which time they were a complete anachronism. (They seem to have stuck it out much longer than even that; while searching for a scan of Black Vinyl Shoes, I was surprised to learn of two early-90s releases, Stolen Wishes and Propeller, that I was completely unaware of. Obviously I'll try to track them down, but the truth is that I'm a little wary.) Incidentally, my copy of Black Vinyl Shoes is a promo on PVC that I think I bought at Around Again. Someone had it backwards: rock critics are supposed to have the good sense to keep their future cult albums, while only trading in their white elephants for cash. Perhaps I have Peter Goddard's copy...Sorry for the delay these past few days: the usual end-of-year school stuff, plus an unfortunate relapse into an online Scrabble addiction I have. I hope to be posting daily again.