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The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Music news, rumors, what you're listening to, how you're listening to it and whether it's all on the up-and-up.

Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:45 pm

Holy crap do I own a lot of Cramps! A baker's dozen of CDs (some of which contain multiple LPs plus lots of bonus stuff) has kept me in the trashy for a couple days now. These folks might well get my vote for ugliest rock band ever, in every sense of the word.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby rrnate » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:49 pm

Heh - I totally have to use "in the trashy" at least once a day here at work, just to see if it catches on.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:06 pm

The Creation -- one of the best of the second-tier British Invasion-era bands (they never actually invaded over here.) I have two discs by them (both comps, with some overlap) which are surprisingly consistent, but nothing tops their masterpiece, "How Does It Feel To Feel"

Cream -- I have the "complete" 4CD box set which again falls outside the purview of this project, but I did jam the BBC Sessions disc. I know a lot of Clapton-haters like to dismiss these guys, but there's some truly great stuff on here (and generally I don't find live Cream to be very worthwhile.) Not the place to star, though -- that would be Disraeli Gears, which is not only Cream's finest by a huge margin, it's one of the best psychedelic-rock LPs of the era. (Which, if I'm being honest, is all the Cream anyone really needs.)

Creedence Clearwater Revival -- The first album is good but not great (and I will forever be baffled by the popularity of their IMHO very lame cover of "Suzie-Q") and the last album is mostly a wasteland, but in between, I'd be hard-pressed to find a more consistent run of spectacular albums (Led Zeppelin's first 5 LPs being the only serious contender I can think of off the top of my head.) Didn't take long to blow through their whole catalog, though -- most of their records clock in at a measly 30 mins. or so. (Keeping it brief helps keep the quality up, I suppose.) I have most of the 40th Anniversary reissues, which include a handful of bonus cuts, some live. Was actually happy (for lack of a better word) to hear that John Fogerty often has as hard of a time singing like John Fogerty as I do.

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup -- mostly remembered these days as the guy from whom Elvis swiped "That's All Right", I have three discs-worth of stuff from this pre-rock pioneer and it's all quite consistently good.

The Crystals -- one of the all-time great girl groups (I'd rank The Shirelles first and The Shangri-Las second), although their output was decidedly slim (the single-disc collection I have is, near as I can tell, every damn thing they ever recorded, including "Do The Screw" and "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)" about which the less said, the better.) I could listen to songs like "He's A Rebel", "Then He Kissed Me", "Uptown", and "He's Sure The Boy I Love" every day and never tire of them. Let's all jam "Girls Can Tell" right now, shall we?

Nick Curran & the Nitelifes -- Pandora jammed "Player" for me and I had to own it. The rest of the album is similar, if slightly less inspired. I know absolutely nothing about Curran -- anyone know if he has more for me to explore?

Cymande -- better-than-average Latin-funk. I always forget how good this disc is until I jam it.

The Cynics -- One of the all-time great garage-rock bar bands. 'Nuff said.

Daisy Chainsaw -- Their album, "Eleventeen", is half total drek and half just OK, but holy shit, "Love Your Money" is beyond fantastic. Seriously, check it out if you don't know this song.

Dick Dale -- I have a couple comps of his classic stuff, but even when picked-over for best-ofs, there's a whole lotta dross amidst the nuggets. But his one-two punch from '93-'94 (Tribal Thunder and Unknown Territory) are loads of fun and much more consistent than his '60s output ever was (right down to some updated versions of chestnuts like "Ghost Riders In The Sky" and "Hava Negila".)

Next up... DANZIG!
Last edited by Prof. Wagstaff on Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby dave esmond » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:28 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Nick Curran & the Nitelifes -- Pandora jammed "Player" for me and I had to own it. The rest of the album is similar, if slightly less inspired. I know absolutely nothing about Curran -- anyone know if he has more for me to explore?


I know he's on a couple of Kim Lenz discs that I like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6v7hA0_iAQ

His solo stuff is pretty similar so if you like one you'll probably like them all.

Agree with you on the Crystals even tho' I'd rank the Shagri-Las as number one.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:49 pm

Thanks for the info on Curran.

dave esmond wrote:Agree with you on the Crystals even tho' I'd rank the Shagri-Las as number one.
You probably just need to hear more Shirelles then.

Seriously tho, The Shirelles get the nod from me because 1) they pretty much invented girl group (one of my fave genres, btw), 2) they are much better singers than The Shangri-Las, 3) they have a lot more diverse material (some of it self-penned, virtually unheard of in the genre), 4) they had real longevity (they produced quality material from 1958 until at least 1967), and 5) they were far more consistent.
While the Shangri-Las highs are probably better than even the best Shirelles, there's only really a handful of truly spectacular examples of such, whereas The Shirelles not only made consistently great singles (and b-sides too) they also made pretty solid albums, something few artists, let alone girl groups, were doing in the early-to-mid '60s.
Last edited by Prof. Wagstaff on Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby dave esmond » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:55 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:While the Shangri-Las highs are probably better than even the best Shirelles, there's only really a handful of truly spectacular examples of such, whereas The Shirelles not only made consistently great singles (and b-sides too) they also made pretty solid albums, something few artists, let alone girl groups, were doing in the early-to-mid '60s.


I hear you on the Shirelles and agree. I just find the Shagri-Las highest points some of the best records ever so I give them the slight nod. But as often with these things ask me next week and I might have changed my mind.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:02 pm

dave esmond wrote:I just find the Shagri-Las highest points some of the best records ever
Oh, indeed.
They were certainly a lot cooler than the Shirelles ever were.

Also, there's this.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Kyle Motor » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:18 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Daisy Chainsaw -- Their album, "Eleventeen", is half total drek and half just OK, but holy shit, "Love Your Money" is beyond fantastic. Seriously, check it out if you don't know this song.

"Love Your Money" is really friggin' great. I think I still have my copy of that CD. The rest of that album gets MAJOR FROWN-FACE.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:32 pm

Kyle Motor wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Daisy Chainsaw -- Their album, "Eleventeen", is half total drek and half just OK, but holy shit, "Love Your Money" is beyond fantastic. Seriously, check it out if you don't know this song.

"Love Your Money" is really friggin' great. I think I still have my copy of that CD. The rest of that album gets MAJOR FROWN-FACE.

Isn't it amazing how a crappy band with mostly wrongheaded ideas can somehow come up with such a perfect 2½ minutes of awesomeness?
I admit I didn't even technically listen to the entire album -- about half the "songs" (seriously, some of this stuff is just wanky noisemaking) got skipped midway through because I couldn't bear to hear any more.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Kyle Motor » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:51 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Isn't it amazing how a crappy band with mostly wrongheaded ideas can somehow come up with such a perfect 2½ minutes of awesomeness?

From now on I'm referring to this phenomena as TTS - Tommy Tutone Syndrome.

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I admit I didn't even technically listen to the entire album -- about half the "songs" (seriously, some of this stuff is just wanky noisemaking) got skipped midway through because I couldn't bear to hear any more.

It's a really early-90s kind of album. "We're freaky and making a lot of noise". They just happened to throw one great song in there.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby scratch » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:28 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Holy crap do I own a lot of Cramps! A baker's dozen of CDs (some of which contain multiple LPs plus lots of bonus stuff) has kept me in the trashy for a couple days now. These folks might well get my vote for ugliest rock band ever, in every sense of the word.


Without really questioning your assessment of the Cramps' ugliness, I would propose that no discussion of ugly rock bands is complete without a mention of Molly Hatchett.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:49 pm

scratch wrote:Without really questioning your assessment of the Cramps' ugliness, I would propose that no discussion of ugly rock bands is complete without a mention of Molly Hatchett.

I was planning on demonstrating wordlessly how wrong you were simply by posting pictures of each band. But when I did an image search for The Cramps I discovered that they reserve all their ugliest pictures for their album art (which is what I had based my initial assessment on) and the rest of the time they're just sorta rock'n'roll grungy-looking (much like the fellows in Molly Hatchet.) So while I'm willing to bet the Cramps are still much uglier lyrically and thematically than Molly Hatchet, I'm no longer willing to go to bat over my pronouncement of their overall sustained physical disgustingness (although Lux Interior is pretty fucking ugly.) And further reflection led me to the conclusion that Cannibal Corpse probably wins for ugliest subject matter, but I haven't owned anything by them in over 15 years, so they didn't come up during this project (I was a metalhead in HS, then regrettably sold most of it after a few years of college. One of the many decisions young Wagstaff made which older, wiser Wagstaff regrets.)
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:46 pm

I've been mostly doing Christmas music for the last few weeks, so the Project ground to a halt. But it has recently resumed, so here's the latest:

Danzig -- All I have is Lucifuge, but that's enough, right? Another album I always forget is as awesome as it is until I throw it on. Seriously -- it's really fucking awesome. I never cared for The Misfits, and Danzig grew less tolerable to me over time, but he really nails his Elvis-from-Hell act here and it's a winner.
"Long Way Back From Hell

Bobby Darin -- This guy's a real puzzle. He's got an undeniably great pipe, but he never really seemed to know what to do with it. He's rightfully best-known for his pop vocal stuff (can anyone really deny how great "Mack The Knife" and "Beyond The Sea" are?) but even that stuff gets a little dull after a while. His early forays into rock are OK, but not particularly convincing (and again, the well-known stuff is the cream of the crop here: "Splish Splash" is a great single; "I Ain't Sharin' Sharon" is just dumb album-filler.) Least interesting of all is his latter-period "country" stuff.

The Darling Buds -- Haven't listened to these folks in a while and I'd forgotten just how much I liked'em. Interestingly, I remembered Pop Said..., their first, super-poppy record as being my favorite, but on this listening, I really came around to how much more mature their third and final platter, Erotica (released the same year as Madonna's, no less) is. All three are pretty delightful, although as Ira Robbins warned, "repeated listenings may cause a sugar rush."
Here's some afternoon candy for ya:
"Burst" from Pop Said...
"Things We Do For Love" from Pop Said...
"It Makes No Difference" from Crawdaddy
"Off My Mind" from Erotica
"One Thing Leads To Another" from Erotica

Betty Mutherfuckin' Davis -- Holy shit I do so love me these records. Her first, 1973's Betty Davis is a total stunner. It kicks off with the weakest track ("If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up") which is pretty fucking great. Then it just soars to ever greater heights. Some of the nastiest funk I've ever heard played and sung by one of the unlikeliest cast of characters ever assembled on record: Merl Saunders, Larry Graham, Pete Sears, Gregg Errico, Sylvester, The Pointer Sisters, and many more (Neil Schon!?) Her next album, They Say I'm Different is almost as good (although the CD bonus tracks are completely unnecessary.) And the not-released-back-in-the-day Is It Love Or Desire (rec. 1976) is also excellent. If you don't know Betty and you love hard-ass-nails funk with a decidedly female perspective, you really owe it to yourself to check this lady out. (All the youtube I found sounds like ass. Just go buy these.)

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis -- I don't have much of this sax man's "solo" works but he sure shows up on a lot of other jazz albums I have from the '50s. But the three I do have -- Jaws and Cookbook Vols. 1 & 3 (no idea why I don't have Vol. 2) -- are all pretty great, although mostly that's due to the super organ stylings of Ms. Shirley Scott. Fantastic!

Next up: Miles Davis, which oughtta keep me busy for a while...
Last edited by Prof. Wagstaff on Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Toonces » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:30 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Betty Mutherfuckin' Davis -- Holy shit!


I second the MFBD. Her albums were outta print until a couple of years ago when Light In The Attic reissued them. Nasty Gal also has its place in her catalog... it was her third album and she wanted kick it up a notch (opposite of what her label wanted from her) and recruited some of her cousins to be in the band. I love "Lone Ranger", which is a slower version of the "I Will Take That Ride" bonus track from the first album. Down and dirty!
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:41 pm

Toonces wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Betty Mutherfuckin' Davis -- Holy shit!

I second the MFBD. Her albums were outta print until a couple of years ago when Light In The Attic reissued them. Nasty Gal also has its place in her catalog... it was her third album and she wanted kick it up a notch (opposite of what her label wanted from her) and recruited some of her cousins to be in the band. I love "Lone Ranger", which is a slower version of the "I Will Take That Ride" bonus track from the first album. Down and dirty!


I have the Light In The Attic reissue of the 2nd album, but my CD of the first is an older copy with no bonus tracks. You oughtta burn me Nasty Gal and tack those on if there's room.
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