Archive | October, 2009

Halloween Song of the Day 2009

31 Oct

Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween from your always faithful jesters at the music court. We hope that while you go out tonight and fill your body with sugar that you are safe and are singing a tune as you walk. If I can make a suggestion, how about “The Monster Mash,” which this year is 47 years old. Created originally by Bobby Pickett and reaching the top 100 charts just before Halloween on October 20th, the song has been the most enjoyed Halloween hit and it certainly is quite scary that it got so famous. Horrible pun.

Fun Fact: Pickett was an aspiring actor performing with a band called “The Cordials” during the nights. One night, while performing, Pickett did an imitation of horror movie actor Boris Karloff while his band performed The Diamond’s “Little Darlin.” It was a hit and the song stuck.

Have fun tonight folks and make sure not to get to spooked out when the sound of rustling leaves and howling wind do a ballet dance in your ears. Happy Halloween.


Visual Music (interim) #5

30 Oct

I’m sorry to let you down Matt, but I could not for the life of me think of any Halloween themed songs that I could make a VM for. In fact, ever since I heard a certain big-boned fourth grader sing this song on Wednesday it’s been the only thing I can think of. Here goes…

Song Title

VMI #5

Hint ( You can’t read this picture)

Answer ( Poker Face by Lady Gaga / Eric Cartman )

The Bands at Bauska Castle: “New York Dolls”

29 Oct

Bauska Castle

Every July a festival of medieval music is celebrated at the site of the ruins of Bauska Castle, located on the outskirts of the Latvian city of Bauska. Imagine the castle in full glory, music being played on lutes and recorders and dances being choreographed to the sound of the instrumental music. Now, put the New York Dolls on the stage in their trademark full girlie dress, rocking out on somehow self-amplified electric instruments, being branded as sure heretics in medieval society. A humerous anachronism, right?

While my list of 60’s bands remains at home this new category will work to replace it temporarily. The point of it is simple. I will profile a band of my choice for your reading and listening pleasure. Hopefully, I will start to dig deep into some unknown bands so you can get a good grip on a lot of different types of music. So, imagine you are at Bauska Castle, dressed in medieval garb expecting to hear some good, mellow, medieval music, and, instead, are introduced into the world of different music and artists. In this case, keeping with the theme of Halloween, it is The New York Dolls.

The New York Dolls

Glam Rock is an interesting genre of music that focused on the performance, more than the music. Long hair, lipstick, face-paint are trademarks and theatrical performances, like those seen from Arthur Brown, are musts. The New York Dolls do not get enough credit from the music world. They were glam-metal/punk and this style of dress and music was a huge inspiration for those who followed them, including, Kiss, Blondie, The Ramones, The Clash, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper; need I say more. Bands like them and performers like Marc Bolan and Arthur Brown were huge inspirations on this odd musical movement and the sounds that came from it.

The Dolls original formation is quite interesting and I have a great fun fact for you. The band’s original line-up consisted of singer David Johansen, guitiarists Rick Rivets, who was replaced by Sylvian Sylvian (Mizrahi) after a few months, and Johnny Thunders, bass guitarist Arthur Kane and drummer Billy Murcia. There first ever performance occured at the Endicott Hotel which is between 81st and 82nd St. on Columbus Avenue, New York City’s west side. Around Christmastime 1971, workers at the hotel were organizing a party for the residents when they heard the Dolls jamming across the street and asked if they’d play in exchange for free food. The Dolls said yes and the band started.

You can hear some elements of the rhythm and blues of the Rolling Stones combined with the dual-influence of classic American girl-group bands and the post-psychedelic anarchic bands like the Stooges, as well as glam-rocker original Marc Bolan. Sound like a weird combination. It is, yet, sometimes things like this turn out to sound good. The Dolls were lucky enough to be skilled and ended up creating this odd harmony of hard rock/punk that people did not know what to think of. The guitar was slashing, Johansen’s voice was okay. In 1973 a Creem Magazine poll declared them the best and the worst band of the year, yet, they still toured successfully, and, even though critics disliked them they are now looked at as one of the original punk rock bands. Funny how opinions can change over time.

Here is another fun fact. Do you know who produced their first album? Todd Rundgren, former Nazz guitarist and promoter of his style of wierd power-pop solo work.

So, check out the Dolls and enjoy their interesting music this Halloween. I will be visiting my brother and parents in Cornell this weekend and will be back to the blogosphere on Monday, but, for the time being you will most definitely see a visual music tomorrow, and, who knows, maybe it will be Halloween themed.

Lyric #14

29 Oct

Hey guys, give this one a shot.

” If this was the Cold War we could keep each other warm.”

hint: He never should have eaten the apple off that damn tree.

Answer: The Temptation of Adam, by Josh Ritter

Song of the Day #66: “Fire,” by Arthur Brown

28 Oct

Halloween is rapidly approaching and since this is the last song of the day post before Halloween let us tickle the frightening fancy by choosing an artist who claims, in this song, that he is “the god of hellfire.” He also brings us fire. This man is, none other then, Arthur Brown, and his eccentric style of psychedelic rock and his flamboyant and theatric performance style were large influences on musicians like Alice Cooper.

In 1968, Arthur Brown released the single “Fire,” and scared the public with his odd style and the fact that while performing the song he wore a helmet  onto which had a bowl which held lighter fluid or petrol. One problem, the bowl was not insulated and the heat from the burning fuel quickly conducted through the fixing bolt to the top of Brown’s head, causing him considerable pain. Yes, he certainly brought everyone fire and took himself to burn. The song, which included the usage of a hammond electronic organ and an orchestral backing, sounded so good that people simply ignored the fact that the performer was, quite literally, on fire.

Well, the late 60’s were an odd time and no one took advantage of this quite like Arthur Brown and his crazy world. The song though is fantastic and for Halloween it is a must. So, for all you college students hitting up frats, clubs, and bars for the wacky events of Halloween make sure to suggest to the DJ’s, “Fire.” If one of them actually has the song commend them on being awesome.

"Fire," No, I am not kidding, FIRE!!!! RUN!!!!

"Fire," No, I am not kidding, FIRE!!! everyone RUN!!!


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