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John B

Posts: 2,164
Reply with quote  #31 
Lee's right, you'd have to be driving rather fast, but maybe that's the point. 

Like flying past La Brea, Slawson, Crescent Heights, and all the jag could see were my 6 tail lights, he passed me at Doheny and I started to swerve, but I pulled it out and there we were, at Deadman's Curve.'

I've read falsely that one could drive past all those streets on Sunset Blvd. just as Jan sings them. 
not possible...

yes, I love 'Backstage' too!
Popeye (not the sailor)

Posts: 155
Reply with quote  #32 
My random votes:

Gold: Cottonfields - Beach Boys

Silver: Real Men - Joe Jackson

Bronze: Trans-Canada Highway - Gene Pitney

Tin: Wheeling West Virginia - Neil Sedaka

Thanks Darren!
bonnie bella

Avatar / Picture

Posts: 2,032
Reply with quote  #33 
Joe Jackson sang "Is She Really Going Out With Him" and "Steppin Out"?  Ashamed to say I'd never heard his name before, but those two songs are very familiar.

He's pretty cool, I'm enjoying a playlist right now, on a quiet Friday night.

Enlightening ... again.



Clowns divorce: custardy battle.     Simon Munnery

John B

Posts: 2,164
Reply with quote  #34 
There's a Chinese saying that goes something like 'whatever is bred in your bones can never break through your blood'.   Which makes all of these somewhat subversive songs, for trying.  all with great singers too.!

1) Gotta go with Joe Jackson 'Real Men'.  It's the least dated song here to me, the only one that could be a hit now.   Maybe what John Lennon said about your 'era' always being your favorite, you know, when you are about ages 16-21?  For me that was new wave & punk, and even though I originally thought Joe was just aping Costello, he made this album which came out almost at the exact time as I remember as 'Imperial Bedroom' so it was definitely not a copy but like minds thinking similarly.  The lyrics are great, almost Dylanesque. 

2) 'Cottonfields', the 45 version was appreciably purchased in the UK by people who had no idea what it meant to be in Louisiana just about a mile from Texarkana.  Rather like me I guess, loving the Jam sing about Saturdays kids riding their Cortinas to Tescos but there's a rowl going on down near Slough... I simply prefer the 20/20 version, though, thinking that those lyrics about the Beach Boys hardships (meeting a nice man wearing a hat who happily gives good directions and so forth) are already subversive enough in comparison to Leadbelly's hardships.  Then, the 'a summer's day out in California' that's stretching it again, but it's okay.  It could be a 'welcome' to the families of slaves from the bad old days in the South.  I worked with such descendants In Oakland, CA, who had relatives in Texas and Oklahoma and Arkansas.  They were happy to be in California.  BUT, this single then ratchets up the tweak rather like putting on Groucho glasses to add a cornball white country pedal steel.  That kills it for me.  So...just 2nd place here. 

I know, I know, it's only rock n roll, and the Boys later jammed with the Grateful Dead on 'Okie from Muskogee'...and it rocked.  But you see, well off California hippy bands singing that song is not the same as when Merle did it.  I've listened to Lee hate on that song, but to me, Merle chose to live in California.  If he loved Oklahoma so much he could have lived there.  So...what's bred in the bone, Merle wrote a song about 'those nuts' that were uncomfortably him, and what else could he do but own it for the land, even though in reality he smoked pot and preferred to live in California?  This was not trying to get a Deuce Coupe, a Stingray, and an XKE for your car club.  That's what makes Merle's version much deeper than the Boys with the Dead.  Merle was really the father of the rappers such as NWA owning Compton and 2-Sh$rt praising Oakland/Oaktown.  What choice did they have?  It's in their bones.  Louisiana just about a mile from Texarkana?  Not in Al's bones in the slightest...  2nd place!!

3) Neil Sedaka  "Wheeling, West Virginia".

First, I hated those verses which are so broadway and cornball but remember that WAS the late 60's with the 5th Dimension and rock operas and so forth.  Reminds me of when the Simpsons riff on 'All That Jazz'.  BUT, the chorus kicks butt.  It's really great, so much better than those rotten old verses, you realize that's Neil's point.  So, it's quite powerful where the song ends up.  Pinche' Los Angeles.  What am I doing here?  I KNOW the feeling.  And Neil really does sing great, his pitch for a man is WAY up there.  I mean, maybe he doesn't sing quite as well as ...

(4) last place has to go to Gene Pitney 'Trans-Canada Highway.'  The whole thing including the final, switcheroo crime reference is just too pat and specific to the terrible pre-new wave time period of songs such as 'Seasons in the Sun', 'The Night Chicago Died,' 'Billy Don't be a Hero,' and 'Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.'  This song fits RIGHT in and could have/should have been a hit.  It's really the weakest of these four to me though, no matter how great Gene sings.
Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,404
Reply with quote  #35 
Thanks a lot for the votes, Popeye and John B. 

Lee, that reminds me of Jimmy Webb telling the tale of how people would try to figure out where the protagonist was in 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'. (Jim says they were just spots on the map he picked out without giving it too much thought.)

I did sing the wrong words to 'Tulsa' once. I even remember where it was and when (January 2001). 

I missed 'I saw a welcoming light' and went straight to 'she took me to the cafe'. 

It's really not a good idea in a story song to mix up the verses!

I only ever did it the once. (Now when I get to that part, I look at the stage lights and take my cue!)

John B, I am really impressed with your assessment of the songs and artists. I wish there was a 'love' button!

I'm dying to reveal my votes and why I chose these songs.

But patience is a virtue. 
Popeye (not the sailor)

Posts: 155
Reply with quote  #36 
A random little nugget I stumbled across on the interweb.

Verden McCutcheon

Posts: 458
Reply with quote  #37 
         Season 7 week 25..............DJR

               1)Cotton Fields....Although I like CCR's version better The Beach Boys certainly do it justice !

               2)Trans Canada Highway...Great singing  for a mediocre song !

              3)Wheeling West Virginia...not bad but not terribly memorable either!

             4)Real Men............Some people are crazy about this guy but he doesn't appeal to me !

                       I had only heard Cotton Fields before so it made for an interesting week Darren !

David W

Posts: 464
Reply with quote  #38 
My votes : Easy Gold this week for me .

Gold - The Beach Boys 

Silver - Gene Pitney 

Bronze - Joe Jackson

Tin - Neil Sedaka

Posts: 234
Reply with quote  #39 

Hi Darren,

All good songs, a couple I haven't heard for a while and it was nice to listen to them again. I am looking forward to reading why you picked them.


Gold - Trans-Canada Highway - Gene Pitney

Silver - Cotton Fields – The Beach Boys

Bronze - Wheeling West Virginia - Neil Sedaka

Tin - Real Men - Joe Jackson

Graciegirl  [smile]

Lisa G/TS

Posts: 803
Reply with quote  #40 
My votes:

GOLD -- Joe Jackson, Real Men -- Very narrowly snuck past GP for Gold. I remember a high school band class in '82-'83 when a gal a couple of years ahead of me raved about seeing him in concert the previous night. I bought "Night and Day" and wondered if I'd missed a pretty cool show. A cool album..always loved the tongue-in-cheekiness of this track (not recommended for hypochondriacs):

SILVER -- Gene Pitney, Trans Canada Highway -- I'd agree with Verden - probably the best vocal to distract you from a somewhat formulaic song. 

BRONZE -- Beach Boys, Cotton Fields -- Actually an enjoyable -- Yee Haw! -- cover from that era for them. 

TIN -- Neil Sedaka, Wheeling West Virginia -- "Crackin' Rosie" is one of my faves from N. Diamond. I now shudder imagining it sung by N. Sedaka. How could you confuse them, bonnie? [frown]
bonnie bella

Avatar / Picture

Posts: 2,032
Reply with quote  #41 
Lisa, I am a musical illiterate.  But, I will admit that was a pretty wide miss.  [smile]

Darren, I'm going to need another day to vote.

Here are some recently discovered bootleg Beach Boys  (Recently discovered by me, old news to most of you.)

And just something lovely.


Clowns divorce: custardy battle.     Simon Munnery

paul g adsett

Avatar / Picture

Posts: 1,360
Reply with quote  #42 

ah, i spy 'tinternet...
distinct lack of it at croprdey
(but very fine music from
bootleg beatles to fairport convention
and, musical discovery of tyhe week,
a pair of australians
(flying home today, so go greet 'em at the airport!)
the pierce brothers.
a damned fine set.
no chance to post, but plenty to ponder and scribble into this tablet
and so i've ordered my thoughts (sic)
and will slap 'em down in stages as i get a signal...

thanks mr djr fine bunch of tracks to his week.
all have great merit.

tin: 'trans-canada highway'
- here's a whole movie script drafted out within the lyrics
sweeping, pictureque pitney.
with that voice of his that cuts through the most impacted crap,
can make you believe he's living the song.
musically, that horn and percussion intro throws you straight into proceedings.
the metallic acoustic guitar strings sound bright'n'nasty,
not sensuous'n'seductive like an acoustic can
hat low sax going on in the 'you know a man of hunger..',
it e
nhances the broodingnessitudes.
the drum that brings the chorus in,
well, it does what it sets out to do,
but that chorus kicks in too often so that, eventually, it begins to grate.
that electric guitar phrase, too,
it's going to grate,
i can tell...
and so the dark, torch, grand guignol dramatic sweep that pitney can arouse
(that marc almond tapped so well with their big hit duet
''something's gotten hold of my heart')
is, here, too dissipated by the production.
and to the bottom it goes.

Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,404
Reply with quote  #43 

Thanks a lot for the votes and comments, Verden, David, Graciegirl, Lisa and Paul (awaiting the remainder with breath abated).

Loved your dissecting of ‘T-C H’way’, Paul.

I’m seeing Bootleg Beatles, for the fourth time, when they come here next month.

The encore is usually ‘Back In the USSR’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’ (original key). They don’t scrimp!

Closing in about 20 hours’ time.

Get your votes in, folks. 

Cantina Margarita

Posts: 347
Reply with quote  #44 

Hi Darren + all,

this round, again, makes me think about what theme there might be.

Charming off-tune singers ?

Wild West romance without guns ?

Music for Driving ?

underrated genuises ?

I'm feeling like picking the last one. Listening to these 4 songs, my ear tends to spin around many closely related and even much more pleasant songs from them. I'm really not sure whether I'm rating those (as complete packages), or if this really is about the four songs you've been presenting. Anyway, who cares.

My ranking:

1. Joe Jackson - Real Men
This Mr Jackson, like a Billy Joel twin, is great at creating high gloss piano ballads. Although he doesn't seem to be as anduring as Billy J., being a kind of „one album wonder“, the Night And Day album is among the 50 greatest of all time to me. While saving my post, I'm into „Stepping Out“, and this will probably last for the rest of the evening.

2. Beach Boys – Cottonfields
Although I don't really like this version of the song (could be due to Mr Fogerty, having presented a much greater version, or because I believe a traditional can't hold pace with the usual Beach Boys ambition level), I'm knighting Mr Jardine sr. here who added a big bonus to TWGMTR and NPP. I hope he will stay with Brian's band as long as possible.

3. Neil Sedaka - Wheeling West Virginia
… oh boy, what great 1980s summer party memories in gratitude to this guy. It's especially the older songs that made us dance like hell, such as „Happy Birthday Sweet 16“, „Calendar Girl“, „Run Simson Run“, „Next Door To an Angel“ and „One Way ticket“ … although I'm not sure if the last one rather was „Torch“ by Soft Cell.

4. Gene Pitney - Trans Canada Highway
the good old Wild Western Romance (the bright sides of it), without any civil war, cotton slavery, and Earp shooting. If I want that, it's enough to turn on the latest news. If I'm into romance, it's enough to think about Liberty Valance. Here's some more of the „cowboy at heart“ genre for you to dig.


And there's one more I thing I'm thinking about, watching the Cottonfields video, and seeing all those cute Finns ...

John Deere's Mannheim plant ==> Marcel Goc, Jochen Hecht, Dennis Endras ==> new Hockey season will start soon !!!


Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,404
Reply with quote  #45 
Thanks a lot for the votes and comments, Cantina. [smile]

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