I have excuses for not posting here, really, I do. I work, my son got married, my daughter came home from Barcelona for the event, I attended an off-year college reunion, and there’s just lots going on, including the greatest sporting event in the world. So, I figured that the first day of summer is an excuse to post my writing on other sites since the Spring Cleaning post.
And thus our feature song is Fountains of Wayne’s great piece of summery power pop, “It Must Be Summer” from their excellent 1999 album Utopia Parkway. I’ve long been a fan of the band, and their output is uniformly great, even if some might, humorously, consider it a tad formulaic.
My participation at Cover Me has been recently been limited to contributing to the now-regular “Best Covers Ever” feature. For the Fleetwood Mac piece, I wrote about Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs’ cover of “Second Hand News” (No. 30), Whiskeytown’s cover of “Dreams” (No. 20), and Hole’s cover of “Gold Dust Woman” (No. 1!!!). For the Pink Floyd piece, I discussed The Mavericks’ surprisingly good cover of “Us & Them” (No. 36), Bettye LaVette’s cover of “Wish You Were Here” (No. 29), and Elephant Revival’s cover of “Have A Cigar” (No. 17). I had never heard of Elephant Revival before, but someone in a Jason Isbell fan group on Facebook happened to post the cover during the nomination period, and I really liked it, and investigated some of their other music. Sadly, they appear to have recently broken up. The next artist being featured is Beyoncé. In addition, in my role as a Cover Me writer, I was a guest, along with editor-in-chief Ray Padgett, on a Sirius XM game show, 70s 80s 90s, NOW, where I attempted to not sound like a jackass, and, I think, mostly succeeded.
At Star Maker Machine, our Punk theme prompted a discussion of the very punk band Stiff Little Fingers, and their song “Fly The Flag,” and a piece about the relationship between reggae and punk, a marriage maybe brokered by Don Letts. Our next theme was May/Might, which led me to write about a family favorite, Jules Shear’s “You Might As Well Pray,” featuring Amy Rigby, and about a Left Banke song often covered by Richard and Teddy Thompson.
For the Gems & Stones theme, I reflected on Neil Diamond, whose talents as a songwriter and performer are sometimes obscured by the schmaltz. And, most recently, for the Speak/Talk theme, I reminisced about Romeo Void, whose song “Talk Dirty (To Me)” epitomized the interview that I did with the band back in college, and whose success may well have been short-circuited due to their label’s unwillingness to support a band with an overweight female singer.
Going forward, there will be a Clearwater Festival recap, either here, or at Star Maker Machine, if I can figure out a way to work it into the theme. Also, in July, I will be making my debut as a blogger for the legendary Capitol Theater in Port Chester, which should be fun.