Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Another Musical Trip Inspired By CC

Our pal CC just celebrated five years at the helm of Charity Chic Music, and that's quite a feat when you consider he's one of those disciplined bloggers that somehow finds a way to put something up every day. Man, that's a plethora of posts. A tip of the cap, sir. What I like about CC is he always seems to highlight a song that gets me thinking about something else I have on the shelf. That often starts a chain reaction that ends with me holding a stack of albums and wondering where the evening went. Here are a couple of records I listened to over the weekend after CC had back-to-back submissions on Elvis and Elvis.

On Thursday, CC lamented Elvis Costello's last great album was 'Brutal Youth'. That was 23 years ago, folks. Wow. Like many of you in the comments, I pondered both that last great album statement and whether 'Brutal Youth' was, in fact, a great album. (Yes on both, by the way.) I think what made that time so exciting was the return of bassist Bruce Thomas. I pulled Thomas' book 'The Big Wheel' off the shelf a few days ago to refresh my memory on the dust up that got him dismissed from the Attractions in the first place (and, it turned out, in the second place). I planned on this being a quick read through the preface of the new edition to get his thoughts on the drama surrounding the band's induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, but now I'm fully immersed in Thomas' work of "fiction" for the first time in several years.

While on the Bruce bus, I decided to listen to 'Mad About the Wrong Boy', the 1980 album the Attractions did without their famous leader. Most of the songs were written by Steve Nieve or the mysterious team of Brain/Hart, whom we later learned was Nieve and then-girlfriend Fay Hart. There were a few fine moments on the album, most notably "Single Girl" and Sad About Girls", but most of it was a bit of a stinker. Here was Bruce's best effort...

The Attractions - "Little Miss Understanding"


CC's musings on Elvis Presley, and the song "Mystery Train" in particular, instantly made me think of others who have tried to emulate the King. I'm guessing when you think of "Mystery Train" you probably don't immediately turn to 'Everybody's Rockin'', Neil Young's ode to rock 'n' roll's infancy that he released in 1983, but I do. This album came out the same month my hometown got MTV, and the single "Wonderin'" was a mainstay on the video channel. I loved the retro sound of the song and ran out to get the album. Although I hadn't listened to 'Everybody's Rockin'' for many years, since CC's post on Presley, I can't seem to get it off the turntable. Thanks, CC. Here's to another five years.

Neil Young & the Shocking Pinks - "Mystery Train"

7 comments:

Echorich said...

Wow Brian, you are so right, when MTV came to my cable, I remember Neil Young was on high rotation with this one. But at the same time I remember there was a lot to time for ECATA tracks that had 'video clips' from years prior like Chelsea, Pump It Up and Oliver's Army...

charity chic said...

Thanks Brian
Glad to return the favour after you sending me on a Matthew Sweet odyssey

JTFL said...

The Attractions album is a bit crap, but I'm glad I have it. My last cover band used to do "Wonderin." People always asked me whose song it was and wouldn't believe it was a Neil Young tune. They also didn't appreciate me saying it was the last good Neil Young song, which is true.

Damn, now I have to read The Big Wheel again.

George said...

I will not be investigating more than the one minute of that Attractions I have heard so far. But that Neil Young track is rather good.

Rol said...

Never knew The Attractions did a solo album and never heard of Neil Young's Elvis phase. I am bizarrely intrigued by both, despite obvious warnings.

Brian said...

Of the two albums, you are much thicker ice with Neil. Mad About the Wrong Boy is more of a curiosity. It's for the Costello fan that has everything. It helps answer the question, what if EC and his band had gone ahead with their original idea of a new-wave sound for Get Happy? They made the right choice!

The Swede said...

I've owned 'The Big Wheel' for years, but have yet to get around to reading it. This post has jumped it up the pile.