Monday, May 31, 2010

Lost Gem: "To Beat the Devil" - Kris Kristofferson (1970)


"When no-one stood behind me
but my shadow on the floor,

And lonesome was more
than a state of mind."

~ Kris Kristofferson ~


One of the original...country outlaws...Kris Kristofferson hit the scenes with his self-titled debut in 1970.

The album went nowhere...until Janis Joplin covered..."Me And Bobby McGee".  It was subsequently released again...a year later...and the rest is songwriter history.

Admittedly, an acquired taste vocally...(I like it.)...his songwriting talents have never been questioned.

In 2004, Kris was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Lost Gem:--> "To Beat The Devil"...is an incredible shared memory of the struggle to survive on the road as an unknown troubadour.
Hopelessly compelled to risk the pain from apathy's grin...for the all-too-brief moments of euphoric connection on stage...(and maybe a sandwich).  Kris wears it well. 

Have you heard this gem?


"A couple of years back, I come across a great and wasted friend of mine in the hallway of a recording studio; and while he was reciting some poetry to me that he'd written, I saw that he was about a step away from dyin' and I couldn't help but wonder why. And the lines of this song occurred to me. I'm happy to say he's no longer wasted and he's got him a good woman. And I'd like to dedicate this to John and June, who helped show me how to beat the devil."

It was winter time in Nashville, down on music city row.
And I was lookin' for a place to get myself out of the cold.
To warm the frozen feelin' that was eatin' at my soul.
Keep the chilly wind off my guitar.

My thirsty wanted whisky; my hungry needed beans,
But it'd been of month of paydays since I'd heard that eagle scream.
So with a stomach full of empty and a pocket full of dreams,
I left my pride and stepped inside a bar.

Actually, I guess you'd could call it a Tavern:
Cigarette smoke to the ceiling and sawdust on the floor;
Friendly shadows.

I saw that there was just one old man sittin' at the bar.
And in the mirror I could see him checkin' me and my guitar.
An' he turned and said: "Come up here boy, and show us what you are."
I said: "I'm dry." He bought me a beer.

He nodded at my guitar and said: "It's a tough life, ain't it?"
I just looked at him. He said: "You ain't makin' any money, are you?"
I said: "You've been readin' my mail."
He just smiled and said: "Let me see that guitar.
"I've got something you oughta hear."
Then he laid it on me:

"If you waste your time a-talkin' to the people who don't listen,
"To the things that you are sayin', who do you think's gonna hear.
"And if you should die explainin' how the things that they complain about,
"Are things they could be changin', who do you think's gonna care?"

There were other lonely singers in a world turned deaf and blind,
Who were crucified for what they tried to show.
And their voices have been scattered by the swirling winds of time.
'Cos the truth remains that no-one wants to know.

Well, the old man was a stranger, but I'd heard his song before,
Back when failure had me locked out on the wrong side of the door.
When no-one stood behind me but my shadow on the floor,
And lonesome was more than a state of mind.

You see, the devil haunts a hungry man,
If you don't wanna join him, you got to beat him.
I ain't sayin' I beat the devil, but I drank his beer for nothing.
Then I stole his song.

And you still can hear me singin' to the people who don't listen,
To the things that I am sayin', prayin' someone's gonna hear.
And I guess I'll die explaining how the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin', hopin' someone's gonna care.

I was born a lonely singer, and I'm bound to die the same,
But I've got to feed the hunger in my soul.
And if I never have a nickle, I won't ever die ashamed.
'Cos I don't believe that no one wants to know.


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Lost Gem: "The Revenge Of Vera Gemini" - Blue Öyster Cult (1976)



"You're boned like a saint
with the consciousness
of a snake."
~ Blue Öyster Cult ~


"Agents Of Fortune" (1976) was Blue Oyster Cult's most commercially successful album...and is highly recommended.

This release was a turning point for the band....pulling away from straight-out heavy metal to a more Alice Cooper-esque vibe...(without the camp).

All while keeping their edgy creepiness intact.

Creepy, in that you find yourself boppin' your head to songs about suicide, murder, the unknown ...it's quite the oxymoron.  And it's quite good.

Lost Gem:-->  "The Revenge Of Vera Gemini"...is a forgotten standout...filled with organ and an oddly cool guitar lead and reverb.

While "Don't Fear The Reaper" is about a double suicide of love..."Revenge..." is more about "taking each other out"...with a vengeance.

Drummer Albert Bouchard and guest...Patti Smith banter back and forth their death wish for each other...with awesome Patti contributing nice eerie vocals.  All this creates a satisfying atmosphere of dark haunting pleasure.

Have you heard this gem?


You're boned like a saint
With the consciousness of a snake

You're the kind of girl
I'd like to find
Face like an angel
But you're boned like the devil

Your eyes have shifted from me
Everyone saw what you did
You have slipped from beneath me
Like a false and nervous squid

Oh no more horses horses
We're gonna swim like a fish
Into the hole, in which you planned to ditch me
My lovely Vera Marie

You planned to leave me cold
But you'll never get your wish
On the 24th of May
I'll gather up your reins

You filled me with a vengeance
And you touched me with your breath
I'm gonna pull you from this dance
You're gonna ride so easily

Oh no more horses horses
We're gonna swim like a fish
Into the hole, in which you planned to ditch me
My lovely Vera Marie

I was your victim
I was well deceived
Hell's built on regret
But I love your naked neck

And evil lies that you told me
Could make me believe your two-faced
Because two faces have you
And they're both gonna go.


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost Gem: "The Concept" - Teenage Fanclub (1991)


"Says she don't do drugs
but she does the pill."
~ Teenage Fanclub ~


The Scottish band...Teenage Fanclub...released their 3rd album..."Bandwagonesque" in 1991.

And it would become their most critically acclaimed release...ending up on several Top Ten Of The Year lists.

The record is filled with plenty of catchy melodies and brilliant harmonies. All topped off with jangly pop hooks and grungy guitar riffs.

Add just a touch of... TF "slackertude"...and it makes for a fine RnR pie.

Lost Gem:-->  "The Concept"...Soaring melodies ride atop some neo-psychedelic grunge-pop.
Lyrics sounding like afterthoughts...sweetly warm our backstage hearts.  Classic.

Have you heard this one?


She wears denim wherever she goes
Says she's gonna get some records by the Status Quo
Oh yeah...Oh yeah...
Still she won't be forced against her will
Says she don't do drugs but she does the pill
Oh yeah...Oh yeah...

I didn't want to hurt you oh yeah...
I didn't want to hurt you oh yeah...

Says she likes my hair 'cause it's down my back
Says she likes the group 'cause we pull in the slack
Oh yeah...Oh yeah...
When she's at the gig she takes her car
And she drive us home if it is in a bar
Oh yeah...Oh yeah...

I didn't want to hurt you oh yeah...
I didn't want to hurt you oh yeah...
Aaaah... Aaaah... Aaaah...


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Lost Gem: "A Song For You" - Gram Parsons (1973)


"I loved you every day 
and now I'm leaving. 
And I can see 
the sorrow in your eyes."
~ Gram Parsons ~


After gigs with The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons released his critically acclaimed debut solo album..."GP"...in 1973.

A few short months later, Gram would die of an overdose at the age of 26.

Gram was bringing to virgin ears...the groundbreaking sound of a rock band playing country music. A sound that longhairs could dig, as well as squares.  Pure. Passionate. Kool.

We can also thank Gram Parsons for introducing the sweet honeysuckle vocals of...Emmylou Harris.

Lost Gem:-->
 "A Song For You"...is an achingly beautiful...final farewell, of sorts, to another special place and time.  A hit to the heart.

Have you heard this one?



Oh my land is like a wild goose
Wanders all around everywhere
Trembles and it shakes till every tree is loose
It rolls the meadows and it rolls the nails
So take me down to your dance floor
And I wont mind the people when they stare
Paint a different color on your front door
And tomorrow we will still be there

Jesus built a ship to sing a song to
It sails the rivers and it sails the tide
Some of my friends don't know who they belong to
Some can't get a single thing to work inside
So take me down to your dance floor
And I wont mind the people when they stare
Paint a different color on your front door
And tomorrow we will still be there

I loved you every day and now I'm leaving
And I can see the sorrow in your eyes
I hope you know a lot more than you're believing
Just so the sun don't hurt you when you cry
So take me down to your dance floor
And I wont mind the people when they stare
Paint a different color on your front door
And tomorrow we may still be there.
And tomorrow we may still be there.

Good stuff!


Casey Chambers
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Lost Gem: "999" - Keith Richards (1992)


"Well, I can't shake it 
off of my back, 
damn monkey."
~ Keith Richards ~



"Main Offender" (1992) is Keith Richards second solo album...and it's a pretty solid outing.

Hearing Keith out in front...can be a welcome respite from the "Mugging Mickster"...and, on this biscuit, the glimmer twin sparkles.

And Stones fans will find plenty of jams and kool grooves to keep them satisfied...til the next "Jagger/Richards" fanfare.

In fact, the Stones should blister this hot!

Lost Gem:-->  "999"...is a thunderous rocker with a wonderful...seamy, sleazy demeanor only someone with 40+ years of hard RnR livin' can pull off.

And Keith plays and sings like a fat kid in a penny candy store.

Have you heard this one?


Makin' it, doesn't matter how many
Takin' it
Well, I can't shake it
Off of my back, damn monkey
It's either too tight
Or it's too slack

How much
That's all it is ooh
Ninety nine
How much, yahh
Now, ninety nine
You better hack it baby

Yea, my time exploded, space blew up
Need something in my dixie cup
Whoa, let me get it right
There's the best pair of lips I've kissed all night
Nine ninety nine
How much, well give it to me
I'll pay you later
Nine ninety nine
Ohh, I got a pocket calculator
Yeah, wake up, it don't make sense
Nickles and dimes
Nine ninety nine

The lion and the lamb are locked in an embrace
You won't get it till it's in your face
Ohh, I got me out of deeper red
Don't panic
Nine ninety nine
Ah, it's where I want to be
Yeah, oh
A useful member of society, huh!
I just need a little of that old money

Gimme ninety nine, yea
Well, I can't shake it off of my back
God damn monkey
Aw, it's too tight, or it's too slack
Yeah some things never change
Price of bullets remains the same

Here we go
Hand over fist, slap on the wrist
Umm, nine nine
That's all I'm askin' How much
How much do you want to give
Just a little bit
Nine
Yeah they operate
Look at the state of my baby
Well, it cost 20 grand, pitiful
Yeah, that's a nine
Put your money where your mouth is
Cough it up
Ohh nickels and dimes
Yeah, huh, ooh


Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lost Gem: "I Want To Live In A Wigwam" - Cat Stevens (1971)



"I don't want to live in no palace.
There's too many empty rooms."
~ Cat Stevens ~



Cat Stevens released a second compilation of songs pulled mostly from the early seventies entitled..."Footsteps In The Dark". (1984)

Most are what you would refer to as ...deep cuts. This is folk singer Cat Stevens at his most innocent...least controversial stage.

Cat is a seeker, for sure, sharing his journey of self-discovery.  And not a bad place at all to start for newbs.

Lost Gem:--> "I Want To Live In A Wigwam"...is so childlike and simple, but not cheap.  And it's because of his warm and calming voice that we sometimes too quickly dismiss.  Like his best songs...this is timeless and joyful.  And the surprise ending is just about perfect!

Have you heard this one?


I'd like to live in a wigwam
Yes I'd like to live in a wigwam
I'd like to live in a wigwam and
Dance round the totem pole.

I'd like to live in an igloo
Yes, I'd like to live in an igloo
I'd like to live in an igloo
And fish from an icehole.

I'd like to ride on a caravan
I'd like to take a ride on a caravan
Yes, I'd like to ride on a caravan
And sing with the gypsies.

I'd like to live on a commune
Yes, I'd like to live on a commune
I'd like to live on a commune
And people can call me a hippie.

I don't want to live in a palace
No, I don't want to live in no palace
Oh I don't want to live in no palace
There's too many empty rooms.

And I don't want to live in a barracks
Don't want to live in a barracks
Oh I don't want to live in a barracks
And wake up to the bugle tune.

I'd just like to live in a tree hut
Yes, I'd like to live on a tree hut
Yes, I'd like to live on a tree hut and
Listen to the sound of the birds.

And I don't want to live in a jailhouse
Don't wanna bide my time in no jailhouse
No I don't want to live in no jailhouse
And be fed bread through the bars.

I'm glad I'm alive am I
I'm glad I'm alive am I
I'm glad I'm alive
I'm glad I'm alive
I'm glad I'm alive am I.

We gotta get our heads up in the sky
We gotta get our heads up in the sky
We gotta get our heads up
Gotta give it time
We gotta get our heads up in the sky.

We gotta get to heaven get a guide
We gotta get to heaven get a guide
We gotta get to heaven
We gotta have a guide
We gotta get to heaven get a guide.


Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Lost Gem: "This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying)" - George Harrison (1975)


"Can't understand
or deal with hate.

Responds much better to love."
~ George Harrison ~

George Harrison's last recording session with The Beatles was on 4 January 1970.

In 1975, GH released..."Extra Texture".  This would be the last studio album recorded on Apple.

And finally, "This Guitar..." would become the first solo Beatles single to miss the charts.

While the LP is not his best work...there are no real throw-away songs either.  And, at the very least, "Extra Texture" hides four gems that should be on everyone's Pod.

Lost Gem:--> "This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying)"...Comparisons are inevitable to that "other" song...but nothing to get hung about.  This is not George trying to recapture lightning in a bottle.  The storm's passed.

Rather more a simple re-examination...written at another station on the journey through life.  His guitar work is beautifully familiar and quite clever.
Enjoyable in every way.

Have you heard this gem?


(one, two, three, four)
Found myself out on a limb.
But I'm happier than I've ever been.
But this guitar cant keep from crying.

Learned to get up when I fall.
Can even climb rolling stone walls.
But this guitar can't keep from crying.

This here guitar can feel quite sad.
Can be high strung, sometimes get mad.
Cant understand or deal with hate.
Responds much better to love.

I thought by now you knew the score.
But you missed the point just like before.
And this guitar cant keep from crying

(this) guitar, it cant keep from crying.
This guitar cant keep from crying.

This here guitar can feel quite sad
Can be high strung, sometimes get mad.
It cant understand or deal with hate.
Responds much better to love.

While you attack, create offense.
I'll put it down to your ignorance.
But this guitar it cant keep from crying.
This guitar cant keep from crying.

This guitar cant keep from crying.
This guitar cant keep from crying.


Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lost Gem: "World Without Tears" - Lucinda Williams (2003)



"How would misery know..
which backdoor to walk through?"
~ Lucinda Williams ~


Lucinda Williams ... is everything that's right with Americana music.  And "World Without Tears" (2003) is another example of great songwriting.

And let there be no doubt...Lucinda's singing/songwriting skills...easily finds her sitting comfortably alongside the likes of...Seger or Springsteen or Browne...with no deference.

You can't hide truth...and Lucinda brings it...with a precise emotional eye...that makes one beg for mercy...but not to stop.

"World Without Tears"...is a quizzical list of simple matters-of-fact...that seem preposterous to even imagine.
Preposterous...because who hasn't felt, all too well, the numerous stings much too hurtful to share.

Have you heard this one?


If we lived in a world without tears
How would bruises find
The face to lie upon
How would scars find skin
To etch themselves into
How would broken find the bones.

If we lived in a world without tears
How would heartbeats
Know when to stop
How would blood know
Which body to flow outside of
How would bullets find the guns.

If we lived in a wold without tears
How would misery know
Which back door to walk through
How would trouble know
Which mind to live inside of
How would sorrow find a home.

If we lived in a world without tears
How would bruises find
The face to lie upon
How would scars find skin
To etch themselves into
How would broken find the bones.

How would broken find the bones.
How would broken find the bones.


Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lost Gem: "Forty-Five Hundred Times" - Status Quo (1973)


"There's nobody 
on the end of my line.
I'm in time but
somebody's missing."
~ Status Quo ~

The English rock band...Status Quo...amazingly recorded more chart hits in the UK...than any other rock group in history.

The band, more or less, has been ignored in the states...but that didn't keep Status Quo from being a champion in wickedly fun...hard rock boogie poundage.

"Hello" (1973)...was SQ's 6th studio LP and is burning...churning...party rock n roll at its finest.

Nothing complicated or groundbreaking, for sure...just solid 12 bar blistering...slap the frown off your face...boogie.

Lost Gem:--> "Forty-Five Hundred Times" ...is a drivin' good thunder-time grab-bag of tempo changes and catchy guitar hooks.

Have you heard this one?


There's nobody on the end of my line
I'm in time but somebody's missing
Maybe I can find a hand for my hand
If I find a well for my wishing
Be my friend, be my friend

It gets lonely on a table for two
Laughing on your own can be no fun
Even people that are talking to you
Remind you that you're really with no-one
Be my friend, be my friend

Take me over like a thing from the past
Lots of people wishing they'd been there
No-one knowing just how long it would last
But I'm sitting still here in my chair
Be my friend, be my friend

Forty-five hundred times I told you how much I care
Forty-five hundred times I told you how much I care
Problems halved are the problems that we can share
White lies in our eyes, together not really there

Forty-five hundred times I told you you can lean on me
Forty-five hundred times I told you you can lean on me
Though it's taken a long time for you to see
Where we're at is the right place for us to be

I sure want to stay here, it sure feels fine
I feel I could be here a long long time
Now that I've made it, I don't want to fade it
Now that I've made it with you

We came a long way, a slow way too
Up from the down way and back to you
Now that I've made it I don't want to fade it
Now that I've made it with you .


Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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