Although it is mid-April here in the New York suburbs, it hasn’t really felt like spring at all, with the exception of a few random days (or parts of days). If it wasn’t for the fact that my Mets have been playing well (pooh, pooh, pooh), it would seem more like football season than spring. But it is still appropriate to engage in some spring cleaning, with a rundown of my writing on other sites since the last one of these space-fillers.
At Cover Me, I wrote two features, the first about Five Good Covers of the new wave classic, “Another Girl, Another Planet,” by The Only Ones, and then switching genres completely, writing a “That’s A Cover?” piece about the pop/disco hit, “Gloria,” by Laura Branigan, originally sung in Italian by Umberto Tozzi, which included a discussion of my miniscule part in promoting the song during the summer that I worked at Atlantic Records. I also contributed to a staff written article about the “best” Talking Heads covers. (Look for our next collection, about Fleetwood Mac covers, at the end of April.)
I’ve continued to post fairly regularly at Star Maker Machine, too. The first new theme for the New Year was “Sinking & Falling,” and I wrote about Rancid’s “Fall Back Down,” and in another big genre-hop, about Dixie Dregs’ “Free Fall,” both of which prompted memories of seeing the bands live. Next up was “Aliens,” prompting articles about Klaatu’s (not The Beatles’) “Calling Occupants of Planetary Craft,” featuring a rare (for me) Carpenters reference, and a Jon Anderson solo track, “Flight of the Moorglade.”
After that, we did “Breakup Songs,” and I wrote about “Without You,” originally by Badfinger, but most notably covered by Harry Nilsson (which my father loved). Transitioning into March inspired “Mar* Songs,” and I posted about “Rosie Flores Came to Town (Mar 1914),” a somewhat opaque song by The Honeydogs, and dredged up an old law school study group memory in a piece about The Pat Metheny Group’s strange “Forward March.”
Women’s History Month led to a “Women” theme, and I took a risk of being accused of objectification, posting about Adrian Belew’s tongue-in-cheek (I hope) song, “The Ideal Woman.” “Steps & Stairs” was the next theme, and I wrote about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s funny “Gimme Three Steps,” and one of my wife’s favorites, “Steppin’ Out,” by Joe Jackson. The current theme is “Jokes, Pranks & Fools,” and I discussed classic rock staple “Fooled Around And Fell In Love,” by Elvin Bishop, which gave me another chance to mock the song’s vocalist Mickey Thomas’ tenure in Starship.
My current intention is to review the new Decemberists album at some point, and I would also recommend checking out the new album from Erika Wennerstrom, the lead vocalist of Heartless Bastards. Wennerstrom recently opened for Drive-By Truckers, and on at least one occasion, they brought her out to sing lead on a great version “When The Levee Breaks,” best known as a Led Zeppelin song, but yeah, it’s a cover…..
During a spring cleaning, it is common to clean your windows, which is why I’m featuring Van Morrison’s fine, laid-back song, “Cleaning Windows,” which recounts his early days as a workman-by-day and musician-by-night. Interestingly, he seems to be happy with both parts of his life at that point, but it is clear that he ultimately hopes to spend more time playing, and less time squeegeeing. Also, which I didn’t know until writing this, the guitarist on the song is Mark Knopfler, from Dire Straits.