Author Archives: Michael H. Little

Graded on a Curve: Lynyrd Skynyrd,
Nuthin’ Fancy

It is my unreconstituted thunk that Lynyrd Skynyrd is America’s second greatest rock’n’roll band, right behind the Velvet Underground. Hyperbole? Mebbe. But during the four short years before fate shot their airship down, the Southern rockers produced a veritable shitload of immortal (and yes smart) tunes that I, for one, have been listening to with pleasure for decades.

1975’s appropriately titled Nuthin’ Fancy isn’t the best Skynyrd LP out there. It may even be the worst of the five albums the original Lynyrd Skynyrd—which is the only Lynyrd Skynyrd that matters—recorded between 1973 and 1977. It lacks the sublime touches that make Skynyrd’s first and second albums rock landmarks, and the assortment of to-die-for songs (“That Smell,” “One More Time,” “All I Can Do Is Write About It”) scattered throughout the two LPs that came after it. The way I see it, Nuthin’ Fancy only boasts two songs—I’m talking about “Saturday Night Special” and “Am I Losin’”—that are truly indispensible.

The biggest problem lies in the songs, natch, and the problem with the songs is that they were written in a rush, in the studio between tours. I’ll stand Ronnie Van Zant up against any American songwriter (exceptin’ B. Dylan) ever, but when it came to Nuthin’ Fancy he simply didn’t have the same amount of time he’d had to write such immortal tunes as “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Tuesday’s Gone,” or “Simple Man” from 1973’s (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) and 1974’s Second Helping. (Indeed, he’d never again have the time to sit down and do some leisurely songwriting during his lifetime, which is why Lynyrd Skynyrd was never able to top the transcendental brilliance of its first two LPs.)

Another problem is that Van Zant, whose idea of a great band was Bad Company, opted for the ‘eavy touch rather than the light one on such songs as “I’m a Country Boy” (anti-NYC rant), “On the Hunt” (misogynistic rant in which Ronnie at least has the decency to concede he’s a slut too), “Cheatin’ Woman” (typical anti-woman rant distinguished only by cool organ and Van Zant’s wonderfully lazy but knowing vocals), and “Whiskey Rock-A-Roller” (self-explanatory). He may have believed that driving it right down the audience’s throat constituted the basis of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s success, but he was wrong.

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Graded on a Curve:
Baby Huey,
The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend

If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of James Ramsey (aka Baby Huey), the giant (350-400 lbs, and more!) and short-lived Chicago funk, psychedelic soul, and R&B singer who never quite escaped the confines of his adopted city of Chicago, and who only managed to release one LP, and that one posthumously. Heroin tragically truncated his life; Melvyn Jones, organist and trumpet player for Baby Huey’s backing band the Babysitters, once recounted an incident in which Baby Huey’s works fell out of a cereal box while he pouring himself a bowl. (The cereal was later determined to be Kellogg’s ODs.)

But a listen to Baby Huey and the Babysitters’ LP The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (an odd title for a man who was functionally deceased at the time of the LP’s release; some fact checker somewhere was hitting the ODs too) will make you bemoan his early death at age 26 in a Chicago motel room, because the goddamned album, so frustrating in places, in others shows Baby Huey to be one badass funk and soul man. Produced by Curtis Mayfield, who most likely used pre-existing tracks and session men after Baby Huey’s demise to fill in the backgrounds because he was no fan of the Babysitters, The Baby Huey Story is all over the place: from a fantastically weird cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” to a take of Mayfield’s own “Mighty, Mighty” that was recorded live to one very jazz-centric take on “California Dreamin’,” Baby Huey covered all the bases and then some.

Take his version of Mayfield’s “Running.” Big horns, a funky backbeat, some hardcore drum thump, and one psychedelic guitar provide Baby Huey with the backdrop, and he sounds bad. As in mean. Great, right? But it’s followed by the easy listening and flute-heavy instrumental “One Dragon Two Dragon,” which just bums me the fuck out. Ditto “California Dreamin’,” which is the horrible sound of a flute running loose. Kinda reminds me of the Will Ferrell flute scene in Anchorman. Except this one ends up sounding like a bad 1970’s TV theme song, one starring Jean Paul Sartre as a crime-solving detective suffering from existential nausea and frog eyes.

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Graded on a Curve:
John Prine, John Prine

True story: I recently made a date with a woman, and on the day of the date she casually informed me we’d be going to an S&M party, then also casually let drop she’d be bringing a fellow named Lunchbox who just happened to be her boyfriend, and at the S&M party there were naked fat guys walking around in Viking helmets eating blue frosted cupcakes like at an elementary school affair, who watched while I watched Lunchbox whip my date and his girlfriend, after which she produced a trio of very lethal-looking stainless steel knives and proceeded to carve interesting patterns on my torso.

It was easily the weirdest date I’ve ever gone on, and quite possibly the weirdest date anyone’s ever gone on, and I can hear you asking: What in God’s name does any of this have to do with country-folk songwriting genius John Prine? Well I’ll tell you. I’ve given it some thought, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Prine, who has a voice like a stoned rodeo and a big old homely heart that pumps pure compassion, is the only person in the whole wide world who could somehow manage to capture both the absurdity and yes, the humanity and even the dignity of those naked guys in Viking helmets as they stood around eating blue frosted cupcakes watching other naked people get whipped.

The late Lou Reed, whom you’d think would be the man for the job, would have only made the whole scene seem decadent, which it most certainly wasn’t. Whereas someone with an eye for the absurd, say the late Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, would have turned the whole thing into a Monty Python skit, which it most certainly wasn’t either. No, Prine is the only songwriter I can think of who could write a song poking fun at those naked Vikings while empathizing with them as well.

Over the course of his 42-year recording career—during which he’s released 22 albums, including “best of” and live LPs—Prine has written some of the saddest, funniest, and most empathetic songs you’ll ever hear, including such timeless standards as “Angel From Montgomery,” “In Spite of Ourselves,” “Paradise,” “Far From Me,” and “Hello in There.” All of ‘em great, so great in fact that Kris Kristofferson, who “discovered” Prine in the country capitol of the world, Chicago, Illinois, said in jest, “We’ll have to break his thumbs.” Or at least I think Kris was speaking in jest. Prine’s songwriting was certainly brilliant enough to cause a lesser songwriter to take desperate measures.

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Graded on a Curve:
Kenny Rogers &
The First Edition,
Anthology

Today we remember Kenny Rogers who passed away on March 20th with a look back from our archives and our introduction to “The Gambler” via The First Edition. Ed.

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition would be groovy with me if they’d never cut another song besides acid burnout anthem “Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Is In).” I love it, you love it, Jimi Hendrix loved it–hell, even Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski loves it, and if that ain’t the Definitive Imprimatur of Indisputable Cool, I’m a walking 7-10 split.

But–and let’s just stick with the bowling metaphors for a moment–during their surprisingly long tenure (from 1967 to who knew?–1975) on both the pop and country charts The First Edition rolled a couple of strikes and a few more spares in the form of a bunch of songs that must have sounded just dandy in the confines of your average Dixie bowling alley. Probably even started a few brawls, a couple of ‘em; The First Edition may hardly be your idea of a socially conscious protest group, but they ruffled feathers with the likes of “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” (a crippled vet? What are these fellas, COMMIES?), “Something’s Burning” (is this Kenny Rogers some kind of slobbering sex fiend?), and “Reuben James” (you talk race, we get nervous).

The First Edition were an eclectic bunch; a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, Kenny and the boys brought the former to suburban Northerners and the latter to rural Southerners, effectively bringing the whole wide world that much closer together. In short they provided an important public service in their desperate bid for radio airplay; hell, even your Muskogee marijuana haters and their long-hair enemies found common ground in writing ‘em off as a shameless commercial shuck.

The First Edition’s Contribution to Western Civilization can be best heard on the 2004 best-of compilation Anthology. Its twenty cuts give us The First Edition in all their splendid diversity; country tear-jerkers rub shoulders with MOR ditties and the kinds of treacle that would later make Rogers a country-pop institution of higher earning. Talk about range; a continental divide separates “Just Dropped In” from the maudlin “For the Good Times” (or “Sunshine” or “Poem for My Little Lady” or “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye” for that matter), and if you’re like me you’ll find yourself bypassing the tripe in favor of The First Edition’s more upbeat material, regardless of what label (rock, country, country rock) you want to put on it.

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Graded on a Curve: Camper Van Beethoven, Telephone Free Landslide Delivery

At the time when the post-punk/hardcore scene was exploding into a thousand disparate sounds, with bands delving into a myriad of new directions (metal, funk, alt-country, goth, neo-psychedelia, you name it), Camper Van Beethoven did something truly audacious–they exploded in every which direction at once.

On their 1985 debut, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, Camper Van Beethoven delved into, by turns, catchy pop jingle jangle, ska, the sounds of Eastern Europe and Mexico, Spaghetti Western and so on, and the LP so bewildered some–me included–that it took a long while to come to terms with its conceptual originality.

Most bands seek to find a sound and perfect it. Camper Van Beethoven did just the opposite, poking fun at all manner of counter cultural subgroups–skinheads, hippies, skateboarders, waste products, and the like–in the process. So far as lead singer/guitarist David Lowery and the boys were concerned, every manner of youth self-identification out there was a conformist joke. They took one look at their angry skinhead counterparts and decided to take them bowling, strangely humanizing them in the process. Put a bowling ball in their hands, and they were just kids in odd clothing.

Telephone Free Landslide Victory’s 17 maddingly disparate cuts are designed to induce vertigo, but it’s the pop tunes that get you first. The perky ”Take the Skinheads Bowling,” the chipper pre-Slacker anthem “Ambiguity Song (“Everything seems to be up in the air at this time”) and the love as unidentifiable emotion “Oh, No!” (“Oh no here it comes again, that funny feeling”)–are catchy as hell, and once you’ve heard them you’ll never get them out of your head.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Dandy Warhols,
Odditorium or Warlords of Mars

The Dandy Warhols play stadiums in my head. In the real world they’ve been relegated to playing clubs, which is a gross injustice seeing as how they’re the greatest American band this side of Grand Funk Railroad. The unfairness of it all just reaffirms my belief that life ain’t fair and most people are complete morons.

Plenty of folks know the Dandy Warhols only through 2004’s Dandys vs. Brian Jonestown Massacre documentary Dig!, or a small handful of songs including “Bohemian Like You,” “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth” (with its catch phrase “Heroin is so passe”), and “Boys Better.” But they’ve released scads of other fantastic songs, as you know if you’ve been attending the biweekly Dandy Warhols’s concerts at the stadium in my head.

At the stadium shows in my head, opening acts have included the Rolling Stones (who’ve been met with catcalls along the lines of “Where’s Mick’s wheelchair?”), Aerosmith (who’ve been run off stage by some epic booing), the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who on one memorable occasion were pelted with objects both large and small and were seen backstage whimpering), Radiohead (whose performance was best summed up by a collective “Wake me up when it’s over”), and the Foo Fighters (about whom the general consensus was something along the lines of “Think I’ll hit the john”). Only the dead but alive, alive but dead Jerry Lee Lewis escaped abuse, most likely because the audience was terrified into silence by the prospect of getting collective ass kicked.

Each and every one of these bands humiliated itself like a ninth grader pissing himself after being hit in the nuts playing dodgeball, but nobody in the SRO audience really cared; they were cheering like Nazis at a Nuremberg Rally as the Dandys took the stage.

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Graded on a Curve: Wolfman Jack,
Fun & Romance

File under Must Own, Never Play. There are only two things you need know about the late great Wolfman Jack: (1) he’s a bona fide American icon, and (2) he can’t sing a lick.

The Wolfman’s career took him from Mexico’s legendary 250,000 watt “border blaster” radio station X-ERF–immortalized in ZZ Top’s “I Heard It on the X”–to show stealer on 1973’s America Graffiti to longtime host of NBC-TV’s late night concert staple The Midnight Special, becoming one of the world’s hippest and most recognizable figures in the process. The man was as cool as the Orange Creamsicles he ate in American Graffiti.

And it’s Wolfman Jack’s lovable persona, rather than his singing ability, that carries the day on 1975’s Fun & Romance. Everybody’s favorite gravel-voiced DJ (one Wolfman Jack = six Dr. Johns) does a better job talking jive than singing, but his love for the golden oldies comes through loud and clear on every cut. There’s something endearing about Wolfman Jack’s amazing inability to hold a tune. He’s that passionate tone-deaf guy at the karaoke bar who can’t wait to get his hands on the microphone, and I can relate. Why suffer for your art when other people can do it for you?

The Wolfman makes maximum use of his players–you get horns galore, scads of backing vocalists, and lots of raucous piano–and they definitely lively up the proceedings. The Hirsute One’s cover of Dr. Feelgood & The Interns’ “Dr. Feelgood” boasts SNL horns and has a Blues Brothers feel to it, while the heavy-duty percussion on the very funky “I’m So Happy” brings War to Mind. Funk’s also the name of the game on the worth a listen or even three“Ghost Story,” on which the Wolfman does some trademark cackling.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Barons, “Time and Time Again” b/w “Now You’re Mine”

It’s every vinyl lover’s dream–to happen upon one of the rarest singles in existence. But that’s just what happened to a shadowy Pennsylvania collector, who in 1996 walked out of a Maryland record convention with a copy of a 45 by an obscure Maryland-based garage rock band called The Barons.

Just how obscure was it? No one even knew it existed. The collector’s discovery sparked a gold rush amongst vinyl fanatics for additional copies of the record, mint copies of which are fetching $1,500 dollars and up. The 45–the only one ever released by The Barons–was released on the S.R.O. label, which was most likely a one-off itself. The record hit the shelves in March 1966, and was distributed almost exclusively in the southern United States.

The discovery of the single also sparked an interest in The Barons. Turns out its members hailed from Hillcrest Heights, MD, and came together in early 1965, using a local warehouse as a practice space. There they bashed out covers of songs by British Invaders such as the Yardbirds, The Kinks, and The Animals, as well as some revamped Motown numbers and a few tunes by The Byrds.

After honing their chops, The Barons played the local garage band circuit of nightclubs (such as the American Palace, a teen-oriented club housed in the long defunct Dodge Hotel in downtown Washington, DC) and battle of the bands. Barons guitarist James A. Packett fondly recalls one such battle against local blue-eyed soul favorites Lawrence and the Arabians. The Barons won–and needed a police escort to escape angry Arabians partisans.

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Graded on a Curve:
Wasted Shirt,
Fungus II

Everybody’s favorite German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (nobody can understand the rest of ‘em) once wrote, “The will to a system is a lack of integrity.” If so, Wasted Shirt, the new collaboration between Ty Segall and Lightning Bolt’s Brian Chippendale, has integrity coming out the wazoo.

Listening to Wasted Shirt’s 2020 release Fungus II brings to mind the scene in Apocalypse Now where Colonel Kurtz says, “Are my methods unsound?” To which Capt. Willard replies, “I don’t see any method at all, sir.” Like Kurtz, the only method Wasted Shirt adheres to is chaos. (But let us tread carefully here; chaos can be a method too.)

The music of Wasted Shirt alienates most human beings, probably because we’ve been genetically programmed and behaviorally conditioned to prefer predictability and pattern over an inchoate din expressly designed to induce Edvard Munch Scream Face. Listening to Wasted Shirt requires that one completely rewire one’s mental circuitry to the extent that the only music one can stand listening to is Wasted Shirt.

I’m not quite there yet myself–I still enjoy listening to Black Oak Arkansas and the occasional smash hit by the Doobie Brothers. But I tried listening John and Yoko’s Double Fantasy the other night and it made me puke. though come to think of it Double Fantasy has always sent me running for the toilet.

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Graded on a Curve: The Alan Parsons Project,
Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Edgar Allen Poe must be rolling over in his crypt, wondering what imp of the perverse led Alan Parsons to purloin his tales of the macabre and use them to produce one of the most inadvertently hilarious albums of our time.

On The Alan Parsons Project’s 1976 debut, Parsons (who cut his bones as producer of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon) uses every means at his disposal to create a studio masterpiece. I’m talking Orson Welles, Arthur Brown, Terry Sylvester of Hollies’ fame, dozens of musicians, string sections, horn fanfare, choirs and more choirs, electronic music, some synthed-up vocals–you get everything except Roger Waters singing with his head in a toilet. And what do we have when he’s done? Gothic prog-rock schlock. Which isn’t altogether a bad thing; Tales of Mystery and Imagination is a real hoot. Pity Parsons doesn’t get his own joke.

Some of the music on Tales of Mystery and Imagination is imaginative–at times it borders on excellent. But the album’s undone by Parsons’ failure to understand you can’t capture the shadowy essence of Poe’s work by means of cutting edge studio technology. Poe tapped into our unconscious fears and plumbed our darkest places; Parsons’ bright and shiny production job does just the opposite. Studio spaces invoke dystopian nightmares of technology run amok; Poe’s work is as dark and primitive as the final resting place of Fortunato in the “The Cast of Amontillado.” You can’t synthesize grave dirt.

To the extent that Tales of Mystery and Imagination’s pretentious grandiosity inspires more mirth than dread, Parsons’ failure is our gain; his would-be studio benchmark for future generations is a real life equivalent to Spinal Tap’s Jack the Ripper musical Saucy Jack. If you’re like me, you’ll be too busy laughing at the LP’s sheer absurdity to notice the quality of some of its music.

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Graded on a Curve:
Kenny G,
Duotones

There are 75 million Kenny G albums out there. This figure may not frighten you, but it has epidemiologists worried sick. According to public health officials we’re in the midst of a full-blown Kenny G pandemic, and the scary thing is he’s gone airborne.

You can contract Kenny G at your dentist’s office, a karaoke bar, or the frozen foods aisle at your local supermarket. In certain counties in Kansas people have taken to wearing earphones. You may think they’re being overly cautious, but you won’t be laughing when you find yourself grooving to the smooth jazz sounds of 1986’s Duotones.

Duotones marked the beginning of Kenny G. Patient Zero is believed to have been a high school jazz band saxophonist with a compromised musical immune system who happened upon Duotones’s opening track, “Songbird.” Said high-schooler then played the song for other band members, who in turn played it for classmates and parents. And by then it was too late. Kenny G spread faster than Enya.

Few expected the Kenneth Bruce Gorelick who began his career as a sideman with Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra would one day become a worldwide scourge, infecting millions of innocents whose only desire was to ease their daily stress or set the mood for love. It’s true what they say–easy listening destroys lives.

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Graded on a Curve:
Pearl Jam, “Dance of
the Clairvoyants”

Now that Eddie Vedder has decided he wants to be David Byrne and Pearl Jam the Talking Heads, the only question remaining is: When are they gonna break out the big white suit?

Literally every human being I’ve spoken with likes Pearl Jam’s new (wave) single “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” and not a single one of them gives a good once in a lifetime that if you sent a sample of its DNA to Ancestry.com it would come back 100 percent Talking Heads and 0 percent flannel shirt.

It’s not as if people are denying the Head’s influence; a Rolling Stone magazine scribe recently conceded the song’s “obvious debt to the Talking Heads,” but only after calling it Pearl Jam’s “funkiest song in forever.” To which I can only respond there’s a considerable difference between an obvious debt to and wholesale appropriation of, just as there’s a considerable difference between admiring a man’s hat and stealing it.

The analogy that comes to mind is Greta Van Fleet. Fans point to them as the saviors of Classic Rock, when all they’re really doing is cannibalizing your Led Zeppelin favorites and reassembling them, Frankenstein style, into what we’re asked to believe are original songs. They’re a very good Led Zeppelin tribute band hiding behind a woman–or to put it more accurately, a woman’s name.

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Graded on a Curve:
Iggy Pop, The Idiot

David Bowie was a great artist, but he was also an appropriator and opportunist, and was not above exploiting his friends to achieve his own goals. Take Iggy Pop. Pop had been floundering since the Stooges dissolved, and found himself in Berlin with Bowie who, like Pop, was trying to fight both his drug demons and find his way to a new sound, which would emerge in 1977’s Low. But before Low he produced Pop, as much out of self-interest as friendship. As he would say later, “Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound.”

Fortunately for Pop, their creative collaboration—for their sessions were much, much more than Bowie’s simply using Pop as a laboratory animal for musical experimentation—resulted in 1977’s The Idiot, a work of genius and a radical departure from Pop’s frankly self-destructive proto-punk with the Stooges. Indeed, it was so radical it skipped punk entirely, and disappointed plenty of people who thought Pop should have been taking advantage of a sound and attitude he had helped to foment.

The Idiot would have been unthinkable to anyone familiar with Pop’s previous personae as rock’s wildebeest, who flung himself about to the frenetic roar produced by the Stooges, seemingly oblivious to the physical and psychic damage he was inflicting upon himself. On The Idiot, the roar of guitars was replaced by a funky and robotic foray into more Apollonian territory, with Pop singing over Kraftwerk-flavored art rock, quieter tunes some with Gothic overtones, and even proto-industrial electronica.

Most of its songs would be celebrated by proponents of the various genres of post-punk, demonstrating conclusively just how far ahead of its time it was. On a bummer of a note, it was even the soundtrack to Joy Division singer Ian Curtis’ suicide, as it was found spinning in the room where Curtis hanged himself.

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Graded on a Curve: Rammstein,
Mutter

I once had a German gentleman–my ex-father in law to be exact–tell me in all seriousness that Germany would have won WWII if it’d had time to perfect its vengeance weapons. Something tells me he was talking about Rammstein.

Lots of people listen to these Tanzmetal schnitzel eaters because they Sprechen Sie Deutsche (how cool is that?), others because they sound like a mechanized armored division invading Poland. And then there are those who like ‘em because frontman Till Lindemann’s got a voice as viscous as panzer oil and likes to set himself on fire. All of ‘em are of the opinion that Rammstein are the best thing to come out of Germany since nudism, and I say jawhoh to that.

On first listen Rammstein can be mistaken for a King Tiger tank crushing everything in its path–your immediate instinct is to dive into the nearest foxhole and pray. On repeated listening the melodies and dance beats reveal themselves, and you realize Rammstein’s idea of heavy is nothing compared to that of their Central European neighbors Laibach. They’re Laibach Lite and let’s be glad for it. Who needs the extra calories?

Still, heavy is as heavy does, and for all your talk about Rammstein’s being the founders of the NDH movement 2001’s Mutter is far more metal than dance. Aside from the V2 fast “Zwitter” and near power ballad “Nebel.” Rammstein prefers to employ brute force. Your friendly neighborhood WWII fanatic will gladly inform you–if you can’t run fast enough–that a King Tiger tank weighs in at 70 metric tons. On Mutter at least, Rammstein is that King Tiger tank. Forget about doing the blitzkrieg bop–Mutter will have you banging your nut like ein gutes Metalkopf.

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Graded on a Curve:
Low Cut Connie,
Dirty Pictures (Part 1)

Low Cut Connie wants you to know they’re not Elton John. They’re on their knees pleading, up in your face screaming “Who are you going to believe–us or your own ears?” But you know what? I don’t give a flying feather boa. I like Elton John. No, nix that–I adore Elton John. I adore his voice, I adore his Glam Apocalypse fashion sense, and I most definitely adore the five grand pianos he’s been know to lug around on tour and probably plays with one hand at the same time. There’s nothing Captain Fantastic–who’s breaking hearts (mine included) on his Farewell Tour as I write this–can’t do.

So who cares if Low Cut Connie’s songs are second-hand pastiches of Elton’s songs, right down to the one about herpes, a subject His Wonderfulness got to first on “Social Disease”? Nobody! And who cares if on certain songs songwriter/vocalist/pianist Adam Weiner sounds eerily like the King of Chub himself? Certainly not me, or Sir Elton for that matter-he’s stated for the record Low Cut Connie’s one of his favorite bands.

On 2017’s Dirty Pictures (Part 1), Philadelphia’s best ever EJ tribute band go about making a record the same way their role model does–by slapping a disparate buncha songs on it, whether they make for a coherent whole or not (see Goodbye Yellow Brick Road).

You get some ballads (“Forever,” a transparent rip of Elton’s “Roy Rogers,” and “Montreal”), a razor-blade guitar rocker a la “The Bitch Is Back” (“Love Life”), a pair of piano rockers (“Revolution Rock n Roll” and “Dirty Water”), a first-generation rock ‘n’ roll pastiche along the lines of “Crocodile Rock” (“Death and Destruction”), and a cool Rolling Stones’ knock-off (“Angela,” on which the band doubles down on its love for “Crocodile Rock” by tossing in its trademark la la la la la).

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