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Greer

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Seattle, Washington, USA

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Classic rock, Indie rock, Americana, Garage rock, Psychedelic, Pop

Favorite Artists

Velvet Underground, Beatles, Conor Oberst, Kinks, Grateful Dead, Coconut Records, Bob Dylan, The Decemberists, Buddy Holly, Van Morrison, Dashboard Confessional, Neil Young, Rocky Votolato, She & Him, M. Ward, XTC, Echo and the Bunnymen, Traffic, Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys

About Me

I like music. Stanley Kubrick makes me sleepy. I like to watch old Academy Award acceptance speeches on youtube.

Born and raised in Seattle.

Follow my tweets @ggrenley to see what I'm playing on the air!

Air Shifts
  • Monday 12a - 1a EST
Last 10 Most Recent Shows (Click here for RSS )
Greer - 19 November 2017  [download]
Greer - 12 November 2017  [download]
Greer - 5 November 2017  [download]
Greer - 29 October 2017  [download]
Greer - 22 October 2017  [download]
Greer - 15 October 2017  [download]
Greer - 8 October 2017  [download]
Greer - 1 October 2017  [download]
Greer - 24 September 2017  [download]
Greer - 10 September 2017  [download]

The Underground Velvet Show with DJ Greer – 8/27/17

Posted on 04 Sep 2017

Original post at https://undergroundmusic477.wordpress.com/

Hi all,

This week’s theme was “modes of transportation” (songs about trains, cars, planes, etc.). Below is the playlist with clickable links to hear the songs on youtube. You can download the podcast, as well as other recent ones, at greer.party934.com .

Artist/Song/Album

The Velvet Underground/Train Round The Bend/Loaded
Bob Dylan/It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry/Highway 61 Revisited
The Doors/Mystery Train/Live In Boston: Second Show
The Kinks/Last Of The Steam-Powered Trains/The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
Grateful Dead/Casey Jones/Workingman’s Dead
The Monkees/Last Train To Clarksville/The Best Of The Monkees
Ben Gibbard and Feist/Train Song/Dark Was The Night
Bright Eyes/Train Under Water/I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Rocky Votolato/Tennessee Train Tracks/Makers
The Magnetic Fields/From A Sinking Boat/Realism
Modest Mouse/Missed The Boat/We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Neutral Milk Hotel/In The Aeroplane Over The Sea/In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Mark Ronson And The Business International/The Bike Song/Record Collection
XTC/Rocket From A Bottle/Black Sea
Ones I didn’t have time to play but were on my list:

David Bowie/Space Oddity/David Bowie
Colin Meloy/On The Bus Mall (Live)/Colin Meloy Sings Live!
An Horse/Trains And Tracks/Walls
John Mayer/Stop This Train/Continuum
***

After the 1960’s, The Grateful Dead continued to release albums through the ’70’s, ’80’s, and ’90’s. However, the two albums they produced in 1970 are two of their best: Workingman’s Dead (released June of 1970) and American Beauty, from November of 1970. They were recorded back to back, with The Dead leaving behind their psychedelic influences and experimenting with a more Americana sound. Both albums were influenced by the Bakersfield Sound (a genre of country music from the 1950’s which was rooted from Bakersfield, California.) Although two separate albums, they should be listened to as if it was one album, as they build off of each other. They both concentrate on vocal harmonies instead of just improvisation – a result of befriending the members of Crosby, Stills and Nash. As a side note, one of my all-time favorite songs is a Dead song and can be found on American Beauty – “Ripple.”

“Casey Jones” is based on a traditional folk song called “The Ballad of Casey Jones”, which tells the true story of a Railroad Engineer who died in a train collision. The Grateful Dead have played both the original version and their song live in concert throughout their career. Their version has become one of the most well-known Dead songs to “non-Dead Heads.” Although the original ballad tells the real story of Casey Jones, their version talks about Casey Jones driving too fast from being “high on cocaine,” playing on the words “you better watch your speed.”

“Driving that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones you better watch your speed. Trouble ahead, trouble behind, and you know that notion just crossed my mind…”

Other musicians who have written songs about him include Josh Ritter, Gillian Welch, Motorhead, AC/DC, and Pete Seeger. Time Magazine published an interesting story a few years ago on the life of Casey Jones.

***

Ben Gibbard and Feist sing a cover of Vashti Bunyan’s “Train Song,” from 1966. Their version is featured on the compilation album Dark Was The Night, which I talked about in a previous post. Bunyan inspired the Freak Folk movement of the 2000’s but has also been called “folk”, “psychedelic folk” and “new folk.” “Freak Folk” is loosely defined but other considerable musicians are Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom. Freak Folk shares similarities with “Anti Folk,” which aims to mock the pretension and seriousness of the 1960’s folk movement, sometimes having shocking or nonsensical lyrics.

After she released “Train Song” as a single in 1966, which received little attention, she took a break and traveled to a commune hosted by singer/songwriter Donovan. During the trip, she began writing songs for what would become her 1970 debut album, Just Another Diamond Day. It sold such few copies that she abandoned making music. However, she reached cult status by 2000, marking the second phase of her music career, and she released two more albums in the mid-2000’s.

Quick notes on the cover version that I played: Ben Gibbard is, of course, the lead singer of the band Death Dab For Cutie. Those who don’t recognize Feist undoubtedly saw her in an Apple iPod commercial in the mid-2000’s singing her song “1234”, which gave her mainstream fame. The song is her biggest single in the USA and the only one to chart on Billboard. However, she started her career in the early ’90’s.

***

Here is some short information on a few of the other songs on the playlist:

XTC/Rocket From a Bottle/Black Sea: XTC stopped touring at the peak of their fame in 1982 because the lead singer, Andy Partridge, had a nervous breakdown on-stage as a result of uncontrollable stage fright.

The Doors/Mystery Train/Live In Boston: Second Show: Jim Morrison was intoxicated during the entire show and was drinking heavily on stage while performing. You can definitely tell when listening to the album.

Bright Eyes/Train Under Water/I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning: It’s just a great song and one of my favorites so I wanted to emphasize that you should listen to it! You can read my post on Conor Oberst here.

If you’re curious about any of the other songs I played on the show (listed on the playlist above), hit me up and we can discuss. 🙂

Until next time!

DJ Greer

The Underground Velvet Show with DJ Greer – 8/20/17

Posted on 27 Aug 2017

Original post at: https://undergroundmusic477.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/the-underground-velvet-show-with-dj-greer-82017/

Hi all,

I didn’t have a theme for this week’s radio show, although I did throw in a few covers. This post is mostly about Bob Dylan, as I played several of his songs. Below is the playlist with clickable links to hear the songs on youtube. You can download the podcast, as well as other recent ones, at greer.party934.com .

Artist/Song/Album

The Velvet Underground/I’m Set Free/The Velvet Underground
Bryan Ferry/All Tomorrow’s Parties (Velvet Underground Cover)/Taxi
David Bowie/I’m Waiting For The Man (Velvet Underground Cover)/Almost Famous Soundtrack
The Beatles/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Virgin Passages/While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles Cover)/Mojo-Presents The White Album Recovered (August 2008)
The Kinks/I’m Not Like Everybody Else/Greatest Hits
Bob Dylan/Forever Young/Greatest Hits
Aaron and Bryce Dessner/I Was Young When I Left Home (Bob Dylan Cover)/Dark Was The Night
Carly Simon/Just Like a Woman (Bob Dylan Cover)/Chimes of Freedom – The Songs of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International)
Willie Nelson/He Was a Friend of Mine/Brokeback Mountain Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
M. Ward/Story of an Artist (Daniel Johnston Cover)/The Late Great Daniel Johnston (Disc 1) (The Covers)
Daniel Johnston/The Story of an Artist/The Late Great Daniel Jonhston: The Originals (Disc 2)
***

I played three of Dylan’s songs and one song that he has covered (“He Was A Friend Of Mine.”)

– Forever Young: Bob Dylan produced two versions of this song – one fast, one slow. He recorded both in 1973 for his 1974 album Planet Waves. Dylan is one of the most prolific lyricists of all time and it’s amazing how many times his songs have been covered. One of my favorite covers of this song is from Young@Heart, which is a group of senior citizens who sing contemporary songs. There was a documentary film about them in 2008. Those who are fans of the tv show “Parenthood” will recognize the fast version of the song used as the opening theme. Many others have covered the song, including Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary, Diana Ross, and The Band, The Band actually first started out as a backing band for Dylan but later became famous on their own. They recorded a version of Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Released” (one of my favorite Dylan covers outside of Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”)

Dylan originally wrote the song in 1966 as a lullaby for his son Jesse, but also recorded a faster version so that he wouldn’t sound too sentimental.

Dylan recently won the Nobel Prize for Poetry, and with good reason. He is well-read and has always been greatly influenced by poets. He even took his name from the poet Dylan Thomas (his real name is Robert Zimmerman.) Some of my favorite lyrics to this song:

“May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift, may you have a strong foundation, when the winds of changes shift. May your heart always be joyful, and may your song always be sung, may you stay forever young…”
– I Was Young When I Left Home: The version of this song I played on my show was from brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, who make up the band The National. They recorded it for the 2009 charity album Dark Was The Night (which they also produced), a compilation of both original and cover songs from artists like David Byrne (of The Talking Heads), Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver), Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists), and Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes.) The album is rooted in folk music and acknowledged in the title (it’s named after the Blind Willie Johnson song “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.”)

Dylan wrote the song during the end of 1961 and beginning of 1962 for his debut album Bob Dylan. It’s a reinterpretation of the folk standard “500 Miles” (also known as “Railroaders’ Lament.”)

An example of the original lyrics:

“If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone, you can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles…Lord I’m five hundred miles away from home…Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name, Lord I can’t go back home this a-way…”
And Dylan sings:

“I was young when I left home, and I been out a’ramblin round, and I never wrote a letter to my home…Not a shirt on my back, not a penny on my name, well I can’t go home this a’way…if you miss the train I’m on, count the days I’m gone, and you’ll hear that whistle blow a hundred miles…”
The song is also featured in the Cohen Brothers’ movie Inside Llewyn Davis, about the 1960’s folk scene and a musician loosely based on the singer Dave Van Ronk.

– Just Like a Woman: This Carly Simon cover comes from a charity compilation album of all Bob Dylan songs. It also featured artists like Adele, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Patti Smith, and My Morning Jacket.

“Just Like a Woman” is originally on the 1966 Dylan album Blonde on Blonde and was released as a single that year. It’s allegedly inspired by his affair with Andy Warhol model Edie Sedgwick. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it as #232 on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The song has been featured throughout pop culture, most notably in the Woody Allen movie “Annie Hall.” Allen’s character goes on a date with a rock journalist who annoys him by reciting the lyrics to the song when discussing a Dylan concert she attended. Stephen King also mentions it in his book “Carrie”, when Carrie writes some of the lyrics to the song in her notebook. “Nobody has to guess/That baby can’t be blessed/’Till she finally sees that she’s like all the rest…”

A bit on the album Blonde on Blonde: It’s the third of his trilogy of his masterpiece rock albums in 1965 and 1966 (the other two being Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited) and was one of the first double albums in rock music.



– He Was A Friend Of Mine: I played Willie Nelson’s version of this song from the Brokeback Mountain Soundtrack. The movie incorrectly lists Dylan as the songwriter, but his version, out of 1961, was also a cover. It’s a traditional folk song and the earliest known version, recorded in 1939, was called “Shorty George.”

The Byrds recorded a version for their 1965 album Turn! Turn! Turn!, but they changed the lyrics to reflect the lament of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They also altered the melody. It became a staple of their live performances, most notably at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival where David Crosby made the controversial remark that Kennedy was assassinated as part of a U.S. government conspiracy.

***

Here is some short information on a few of the non-Dylan songs on the playlist:

The Kinks/I’m Not Like Everybody Else/Greatest Hits: Ray Davies’ brother Dave performs the lead vocals, with Ray occasionally participating. This is unusual, as each brother generally sang their own songs. Ray originally wrote the song for The Animals, but they rejected using it, so The Kinks released it on their own.

Daniel Johnston/The Story of an Artist/The Late Great Daniel Johnston: The Originals (Disc 2): You can read my previous blog post about Johnston’s fight with schizophrenia here.

If you’re curious about any of the other songs I played on the show (listed on the playlist above), hit me up and we can discuss. 🙂

Until next time!

DJ Greer

The Underground Velvet Show with DJ Greer - 8/13/17

Posted on 18 Aug 2017

As always, you can read the original posting here: https://undergroundmusic477.wordpress.com/

Hi all,

This week was part 2 of songs with animals in the title (you can read part 1 here. ) I ran out of time again, so I may do part 3 next week. Last time I tried to just pick obscure songs but this week I have a mix of both obvious and not-so-obvious choices. You can click the link to each song in the playlist below to listen to it on youtube, and be sure to download the podcast on my DJ page at greer.party34.com .

Artist/Song/Album

Lou Reed/Walk on the Wild Side/American Poet
Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Gold Lion/Show Your Bones
Shonen Knife/Evil Birds/Super Group
George Clinton/Atomic Dog/Computer Games
Iggy Pop/I Wanna Be Your Dog/The Stooges
Animal Collective/We Tigers/Sung Tongs
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks/Tigers/Mirror Traffic
Bishop Allen/Tiger, Tiger/Grrr…
Country Joe & The Fish/Porpoise Mouth/Electric Music For The Mind And Body
It’s a Beautiful Day/White Bird/It’s a Beautiful Day
Neil Young/Birds/After The Goldrush
Daniel Johnston/Like A Monkey In A Zoo/Late Great Daniel Johnston: The Originals
The Beatles/Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey/The White Album
Bob Dylan/Maggie’s Farm/Bringing It All Back Home
The Seeds/Mr. Farmer/A Web Of Sound
Buster Carter & Preston Young/A Lazy Farmer Boy/Anthology Of American Folk Music, Volume 1A: Ballads
I created the order of the playlist by type of animal (except for birds, as Shonen Knife, a more modern band, sounded better near the beginning of the set than in the middle with the other 1960’s songs.) What I learned in training for my radio show in college is that the transition of the songs affects the flow of the show. It’s hard for the listener to hear a ballad slowly fade out and then have the next song start out loud and fast. I also like to couple genres together, but that depends on the mood of the show. This time around 1960’s and 1970’s music was sprinkled throughout.



***

I’m going to start out by talking about the controversial topic of music sampling in hip-hop records.

George Clinton (along with James Brown and Sly Stalone of “Sly and the Family Stone”) is one of the top pioneers of funk music in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He termed his style of music as “P-Funk”, short for “Parliament-Funkadelic”, which was his associated band (“Parliament” and “Funkadelic” were sister bands, both led by Clinton, that eventually merged.) Clinton decided to go solo in the 1980’s, signing to Columbia Records under two names: George Clinton (his own name) and as the P-Funk All-Stars. His solo albums still feature contributions from core members of P-Funk.

The “funk” genre is a complicated one to define. It originated in the mid-1960’s as part of African-American culture and emphasized the bass line of an electric bassist. Clinton produced his own style of funk by combining jazz and psychedelic rock.

His music is also known for being heavily sampled by hip hop and rap artists. In fact, he is one of the most sampled musicians of all time. A well-known example comes from the song I played, “Atomic Dog,” whose refrain of “bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yeah” can be heard on hundreds of hip hop albums, including those from LL Cool Jay, Nas, Ice Cube, MC Hammer, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg. Snoop Doog used the sample for his solo debut single, “Who Am I (What’s My Name?)” , which catapulted him to stardom. Unfortunately, Clinton has had many issues trying to gain copyrights to his own music.

***

Daniel Johnston has an interesting yet sad story. There’s even a documentary on his life, called “The Devil and Daniel Johnston”. He is an important figure in the “outsider” music scene, which is defined as consisting of artists who make music outside of the commercial music industry and who ignore standard lyrical and musical conventions. Sometimes they disagree with conventional rules, but a lot of the time they have no formal musical training. Johnston has gained cult status and many mainstream artists have been influenced by him. He became more known when Kurt Cobain was seen wearing a t-shirt with Johnston’s artwork on it.

Johnston was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has spent extended periods inside psychiatric institutions throughout his life. One of his first stints was from the result of a plane ride his father was piloting. In 1990, he had a manic episode while flying home. He took the key out of the ignition and threw it out of the plane, believing he was Casper the Friendly Ghost. The plane was destroyed, but luckily he and his father escaped with minor injuries.

After Cobain made Johnston more well-known, there was a bidding war to sign him to a record deal, even though he was in an institution at the time. He refused to sign a multi-album deal with Elektra Records because Metallica was part of the label and he thought they were Satan and would hurt him. He ended up signing with Atlantic Records but his album was a commercial failure so he was dropped from the label.

On my show, I played his song “Like a Monkey in a Zoo” from the compilation album The Late Great Daniel Johnston. It’s a two disc album, with the first disc consisting of famous musicians doing covers of his songs and the second disc featuring his original songs. Some of the artists featured are M. Ward, Bright Eyes, The Eels, and Death Cab For Cutie. Vic Chesnutt performed the “Like a Monkey in a Zoo” cover.

Johnston recently announced that he would be retiring from live performances but will embark on a short tour this fall. Each night will be backed by a different artist that has been influenced by his work (The Preservation All-Stars, The Districts, Modern Baseball, Jeff Tweedy, Built to Spill, and a few others.)

***

Here is some short information on a few of the other songs:

Bob Dylan/Maggie’s Farm/Bringing It All Back Home: I mentioned Dylan last week when talking about his first electric performance at Newport Folk Festival. This song has an electric blues tone and is essentially a protest song against protest folk, representing his musical transition.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks/Tigers/Mirror Traffic: Stephen Malkmus was the lead singer of the influential ’90’s band Pavement. The Jicks formed almost immediately after Pavement went on hiatus.

The Seeds/Mr. Farmer/A Web of Sound: They’re widely recognized as coining the 1960’s term “Flower Power” and later paved the way for 1970’s punk rock.

If you’re curious about any of the other songs I played on the show (listed on the playlist above), hit me up and we can discuss. 🙂

Until next time!

DJ Greer

The Underground Velvet Show with DJ Greer – 8/6/17

Posted on 11 Aug 2017

View original post at: https://undergroundmusic477.wordpress.com/

This week’s theme was songs about animals. I didn’t include musicians who have animals for their name, just animal song titles. I tried not to use obvious songs, so I’m sure there are many that you can think of that aren’t on this list. As always, I won’t break down every song, but you can see the full playlist below. Be sure to click each link to listen to the song and download this week’s podcast on http://greer.party934.com/ . I’ll be doing part 2 next week, as I ran out of time on my show and have more to cover.

Artist/Song/Album

The Velvet Underground/Lonesome Cowboy Bill/Loaded
The Kinks/Animal Farm/The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
The Beach Boys/Pet Sounds/Pet Sounds
Talking Heads/Animals/Fear of Music
Karen O and The Kids/Animal/Where The Wild Things Are (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
The Beatles/Piggies/The White Album
George Harrison/Pisces Fish/Brainwashed
Big Mama Thornton/Hound Dog/20th Century Masters – The Millenium Collection – The Best Of Blues Classics
Howlin’ Wolf/The Red Rooster/The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead
Blind Lemon Jefferson/Rabbit Foot Blues/Anthology of American Folk Music, Volume 3A: Songs
Clarence “Tom” Ashley/The Coo Coo Bird/Anthology of American Folk Music, Volume 3A: Songs
Echo & The Bunnymen/Bring on the Dancing Horses/Songs To Learn and Sing
The Rolling Stones/Wild Horses/Sticky Fingers
Fleetwood Mac/Albatross/The Pious Bird of Good Omen
Devendra Banhart/Seahorse/Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
***

I’m actually not going to talk about The Velvet Underground this time, as I covered the album Loaded in last week’s blog post. I want to focus on a few of the folk and blues songs I played, but do want to start with The Beach Boys, as Pet Sounds is Brian Wilson’s masterpiece. Although it was not a commercial success in the United States (it did fair better in the U.K., however), today it is considered by many as one of the most influential albums in music history.

In the mid-’60’s, Wilson decided to stop touring with the rest of the group in order to focus on bettering his song writing and advancing in the studio. He recorded Pet Sounds for several months in 1966. As he has said, his goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made.” Paul McCartney was so blown away by it that he wanted to try and top it, which ultimately led to the creation of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band a year later. The Beatles and the Beach Boys were known for their friendly rivalry – Pet Sounds was in fact influenced by The Beatles album Rubber Soul from the year before. You can also hear Wilson’s influence on The Beatles’ Revolver, which came out before Sgt. Pepper.

Wilson used the recording studio to full effect – you can hear sound effects, unusual instruments like bicycle bells, organs, trains, and soda cans, as well as elaborate layers of vocal harmonies and wall-of-sound production. A trend was growing during this time where albums became full works to listen to instead of being created around dance music used in the background of parties. Wilson furthered this concept with Pet Sounds.

Much more can be said about the album for sure. The 2014 movie Love & Mercy, starring Paul Dano as a young Brian Wilson, is about his psychological demons while creating this game-changing album. If you want to learn more about its history, I would highly recommend the movie. I’ll move on then to the song “Pet Sounds” itself, which I featured on the show.

“Pet Sounds” is an instrumental track that Wilson conceived as a James Bond style number. It’s the second instrumental on the album, the first being “Let’s Go Away For Awhile.” Wilson recorded it with several session musicians but no other Beach Boys member was present. The percussion sound on the track is actually a drummer playing two empty Coca-Cola cans. This piece is considered “exotica,” which, although hard to define, is essentially a combination of several cultures expanding from Oceania to Hawaii to Africa.

***

Now, onto some good old rhythm and blues.

Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton got her nickname from Frank Schiffman, Manager of the Apollo Theater, because of her strong voice and size. She claimed that she never wanted a microphone to be as loud as she was.

Thornton was the first to record “Hound Dog” in 1952, originally written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, partners in song writing and producing records. However, it was overshadowed by Elvis Presley’s rendition three years later. Similarly, her song “Ball ‘n’ Chain”, which she wrote in 1961 but didn’t release until 1968, was not as popular as Janis Joplin’s rendition.

“Hound Dog” was her only hit record, although, for Presley, it is one of the best-selling singles of all time. This is one of the most known examples of the social inequality you see when a song by a black artist is covered by a white musician. The original lyrics are different than Presley’s version – she sings angrily about a man who has been using her, while he sings a straighter version. For reference, Thornton sings:

“You ain’t nothing but a hound dog, been snoopin’ ’round the door, you can wag your tail, but I ain’t gonna feed you no more…”

“You made me feel so blue, you made me weep and moan, ’cause you ain’t looking for a woman, all you lookin’ is for a home…”
And Presley sings:

“You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time, well you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine…”

“Well they said you was high-classed, well that was just a lie, well you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine…”
There’s much more to be said on how lyrics to the same song change over time due “white” singers” covering “black” songs, but that’s an essay in itself.

***

I played two songs off of the compilation album Anthology of American Folk Music, which is a six-album series of folk, blues, and country music from the 1920’s to the early 1930’s. It was released in 1952 and paved the way for the folk music revival of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Experimental filmmaker Harry Smith compiled the music from his personal collection, as he had a hobby of finding older, less-known music, and he took this hobby very seriously. He accumulated several thousand recordings and spent his time preserving and curating them. If not for Smith, most of these recordings from the 1920’s would have been lost in obscurity. Once Bob Dylan and Joan Baez discovered the recordings, they became a staple of the Greenwich Village folk scene and many of these artists saw a revival of their careers in their late years.

Such is the case for Blind Lemon Jefferson and Clarence “Tom” Ashley, the two artists I played from this compilation.

– Blind Lemon Jefferson was one of the most popular blues singers in the 1920’s and is known as the “Father of Texas Blues.” He was distinctive because he had a high-pitched voice, but because of this, he was not a strong influence on the younger singers of his generation because they could not imitate him as easily as they could other mainstream artists.

He was one of the first blues singers to record solo voice with a blues guitar. He found much success with Paramount Records, which then became the leading record company for the blues in the 1920’s.

Many artists have covered his songs, including The Beatles. They sang a version of “Matchbox Blues,” which actually is credited to Carl Perkins because Perkins did not credit Jefferson in his own recording. Other artists to cover his songs include Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Counting Crows, and Phish.

– Clarence “Tom” Ashley began performing at medicine shows in the Southern Appalachian region (he’s from Tennessee) in the early 1900’s but gained fame in the 1920’s. When he was rediscovered during the folk revival, he started playing at folk music concerts. He played at the Newport Folk Festival, the venue which, in 1965, Bob Dylan first branched out from his acoustic folk by playing with an electric set and was booed off the stage (but that’s neither here nor there.)

I played Ashley’s recording of”The Coo Coo Bird,” but it’s originally an English folk song called “The Cuckoo.” There are many different versions of this song, and most start with a verse about the cuckoo, such as:

“The cuckoo is a find bird, he sings as he flies.”
Donovan also covered the song, and his verse begins:

“Well the cuckoo she’s a pretty bird and she warble as she fly, and she never warble cuckoo till the fourth day of July.”
However, Ashley starts his song completely different. Before he breaks into the verse “the coo-coo is a pretty bird,” he sings:

“Gonna build me a log cabin, on a mountain so high, so I can see Willie, as he goes on by.”
***

I want to go into Fleetwood Mac a little bit, as most people recognize their line-up with Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham. However, that line-up wasn’t established until the 1970’s, and the original band was formed in London in 1967. At that time, the band was led by guitarist Peter Green. Even though Green formed the band, he created the name by combining the names of two of the other members: Drummer Mick Fleetwood (who is the only original member still in the band), and bassist John McVie.

The history of their changing lineup is long, so instead I’ll focus on Peter Green and the original members.

Green made an important contribution to the British Blues movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page have both praised his guitar playing. In fact, Rolling Stone listed him as #58 in its list of the greatest guitarists of all time while mojo ranked him as #3. In 1966, Green replaced Clapton for three shows when Clapton was in John Myall & the Blues Brothers (a band that also featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie) and took over full time when Clapton left. Green then left in 1967 to form his own blues band with Fleetwood on drums, Jeremy Spencer on guitar, and eventually McVie on bass. Although they started performing mostly blues covers, it was soon enough that Green started composing his own songs. He wrote “Black Magic Woman,” which Santana later covered and found greater success.

Green’s health declined by 1970. Fleetwood Mac’s Manager, Clifford Davis, recalled that him taking LSD in Munich had contributed to what would become schizophrenia. He decided to leave the band to focus on his health and played his last show in May of 1970. The band went through a transitional period and eventually became what the majority recognize as today’s Fleetwood Mac.

Many rock guitarists have listed Green as a major influence, including Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, whose bands have both covered his songs.

***

Here is some short information on a few of the other songs:

Karen O and the Kids/Animal: Karen O is the lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She dated Spike Jonze, who directed the film “Where the Wild Things Are”. He asked her to supply the music for the soundtrack and she performed the songs with an untrained children’s choir.

George Harrison/Pisces Fish: This song is off of his album Brainwashed, which came out a year after his death. His son Dhani and friend Jeff Lynne finished up the album for him. Recordings had actually started a decade before but were repeatedly delayed.

Echo & The Bunnymen/Bring On The Dancing Horses: This song was recorded specifically for the film “Pretty in Pink” and was featured on its soundtrack.

If you’re curious about any of the other songs I played on the show (listed on the playlist above), hit me up and we can discuss. 🙂

Until next time!

DJ Greer

The Underground Velvet Show with DJ Greer – 8/3/17

Posted on 03 Aug 2017

You can visit the format-friendly blog post here: https://undergroundmusic477.wordpress.com/

Hi all,

I didn’t host a radio show this past Sunday, so this post is about a past themed playlist I did. I created a show based around songs with names in the title. As with last time, I won’t be discussing every song, but below is the playlist. I didn’t play every song on the show (I usually can only fit about 20), but I created the list using as many songs as I could think of anyway. I also tried not to use more than one song from the same artist, and randomly chose the song I wanted to use. Of course, there are millions of songs with names in their titles, but I had to stop at some point and went with twenty-five.

Be sure to check out my podcast page at http://greer.party934.com/ . You can download the most recent playlists there.

Artist/Song/Album

The Velvet Underground/Sweet Jane/Loaded
The Beatles/Michelle/Rubber Soul
Scissor Sisters/Laura/Scissor Sisters
Bright Eyes/Laura Laurent/Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground
The Kinks/Victoria/Arthur (Or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
Lou Reed/Peggy Sue (Buddy Holly Cover)/Rave On Buddy Holly
The Antlers/Sylvia/Hospice
Ben Folds Five/Kate/Whatever & Ever Amen
Ben Kweller/Lizzy /Sha Sha
Elvis Costello/Alison/My Aim Is True
The Flaming Lips/Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Part 1/Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robot
Fanfarlo/Harold T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time/Reservoir (Deluxe Version)
Regina Spektor/Samson/Begin to Hope
Bon Iver/Emma/For Emma, Forever Ago
Blondie/Maria/No Exit
Blonde Redhead/Penny Sparkle/Penny Sparkle
Feist/Brandy Alexander/The Reminder
Dr. Dog/Jackie Wants a Black Eye/Shame, Shame
Bob Dylan/Song To Woody/Bob Dylan
Conor Oberst/Danny Callahan/Conor Oberst
Counting Crows/Mr. Jones/August and Everything After
Devendra Banhart/Rosa/Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
Duck Sauce/Barbra Streisand (Radio Edit)/Quack
Plain White T’s/Hey There Delilah/Every Second Counts
Sondre Lerche/Rosebud/Faces Down
As always, let’s start with The Velvet Underground.

The story behind the album Loaded is actually quite interesting. It was the fourth studio album for The Velvet Underground and the last one to feature Lou Reed, who left shortly before its release in 1970. Their label, Atlantic, asked Reed to write songs that were more commercial and radio-friendly. The title Loaded is teasing the request that their album be “loaded with hits.” Singer/bassist Doug Yule took over as lead after Reed left, and some of Reed’s sore points were being listed third in its credit, the large photo of Yule on the album, and having the songs all credited to “The Velvet Underground” instead of himself (since he wrote them). Newer releases have changed these concerns – he is now acknowledged as main song writer and listed at the top of the band line-up.

“Sweet Jane” is one of the band’s most well-known songs, and Reed continued to use it in his solo concerts.

In 2013, Billboard wrote an article on how Reed was able to make a hit using just the four chords in this song.

I always have to talk about The Beatles because (as I mentioned before and will mention each time), they’re the greatest band of all time.

“Michelle” appeared on the 1965 album Rubber Soul. It was the second Beatles album to feature all original songs (the first was A Hard Day’s Night.) It was one of the first albums considered as a complete artistic work instead of just a record with songs. What I mean is, other musicians started seeing the possibilities of making albums filled with only high-quality songs instead of putting an album together based around a hit single but featured other throwaway songs. Rubber Soul was the first step away from singles and first step towards experiencing the quality of an entire album. The Beatles had met Bob Dylan around this time, who was highly influential to them, and specifically for John Lennon. You can hear folk influences throughout this album as well as more advanced song lyrics beyond just declarations of love. It was also their first album that didn’t list their name on the cover, which was uncommon for bands at that time.

In 2012, Rolling Stone Magazine listed it as #5 in their “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,”, and in 1995 George Harrison declared Rubber Soul as his favorite Beatles album. Entire books could be written about this album alone, so let me stop here and jump into the specific song I played, “Michelle.”

Some of the lyrics to “Michelle” are in French, which is unique among Beatles tracks. Michelle, ma belle, sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble, tres bien ensemble (Michelle, my belle, these are words that go together well, go together well…)

Paul McCartney is the main songwriter here. He had come up with a French-style melody that he would strum on the guitar and hum fake words at parties he would attend. John Lennon suggested he put real words to the song so that they could add it to the album. McCartney asked his old friend and French Teacher to help him come up with a french name and words that rhymed with it. It ended up winning the 1967 Grammy for “Song of the Year”, and in 1999, BMI named it the 42nd most performed song of the 20th century.

***

Even though I spend the majority of my radio show on music from the 1960’s, there are a lot of other time periods and genres to cover here. Let’s move on to Bright Eyes, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. I also included a solo Conor Oberst song on the playlist so I did cheat a bit (Bright Eyes mostly is the project of Conor Oberst with rotating musicians that work with him.) This will be fairly brief, as he is the type of artist you can either easily summarize or analyze at length,

Lifted is not my favorite album and in my opinion is a little inconsistent. However, it’s considered his breakthrough album because he started to explore more mainstream, melodic songs (even though he will forever associated with the “emo” era of the early 2000’s.) Lifted was a commercial success even though it was already his fourth album. My favorite album is actually I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning, which original fans would give me a hard time about, as it is the most commercial album with the most accessible songs. However, I love its country and folk influence, and at that point he had started to mature lyrically.

Oberst is a walking contradiction. Even though he admits a lot in his poetry, he remains guarded in his real life. His songs are hard to analyze and the listener is never given much information or backrground. More than one song alludes to a woman named Laura – he sings about her in “Land Locked Blues” off of I’m Wide Awake, and many have argued that the song “Lua” off of the same album is also about this mysterious Laura, as “Lua” is the name Laura with the “A” and “R” missing. Oberst has been called “the new Bob Dylan,” which has always embarrassed him, but it’s true that his lyrics are some of the most prolific in modern day music. Some of my favorite lines of “Laura Laurent” are:

“Laura you were the saddest song in the shape of a woman, I thought you were beautiful, but I wept with your movements”

“But do you know we are in high demand, Laura, us people who suffer? Because we don’t take to arguing, and we are quick to surrender.”

“But you should never be embarressed by your trouble with living, because it’s the ones with the sorest throats, Laura, who have done the most singing.”
There are actually only a few songs on this album that stand out to me, “Laura Laurent” being one of them. A few of the others are “False Advertising”, “You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will” (Snow Patrol did a cool cover but I can’t seem to find it online), “Lover I Don’t Have To Love”, and “Bowl of Oranges.”

Here is some short information on a few of the other songs:

Blondie/Maria: This song, from 1999, was their comeback single, as it was the first since “War Child” in 1982.

Regina Spektor/Samson: It was never released as a single but still charted in several countries and is one of Spektor’s most known songs. Apparently it’s about the story of Samson and Delilah in the bible.

Bon Iver/For Emma: Bon Iver won “Best New Artist” in the 2012 Grammys four years after the album was released and pop music fans were not pleased.

If you’re curious about any of the other songs I played on the show (listed on the playlist above), hit me up and we can discuss 🙂

Until next time!

DJ Greer

The Underground Velvet Show with DJ Greer – Date: 7/23/17

Posted on 25 Jul 2017

Below is the playlist for my 7/23/17 radio program, along with some interesting tidbits on the music. (I’m not going to cover each song I played, however.) You can download the podcast at http://greer.party934.com/ . You can also read the post on my blog at https://undergroundmusic477.wordpress.com/
The format is better there.

Artist/Song/Album

The Velvet Underground/White Light/White Heat/White Light/White Heat
Neil Young and Crazy Horse/Down By the River/Decade (Disc 1)
The Allman Brothers Band/One Way Out/A Decade of Hits 1969-1979
The Kinks/Stop Your Sobbing/Greatest Hits (original track on the Kink’s debut album “Kinks”)
The Beatles/And Your Bird Can Sing/Revolver
Actual Wolf/Your Mother Should Know (Beatles cover)/Minnesota Beatle Project, Volume 5
The Lost Fingers/Black Velvet (Alannah Myles cover)/Lost in the 80’s
Talking Heads/Psycho Killer/Talking Heads: 77
Devendra Banhart/Seahorse/Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
Alexi Murdoch/Shine/Time Without Consequence
Animal Collective/FloriDada/Painting With
Alright y’all, let’s jump right in! This is my first blog post, so we’ll see how I do 🙂

My radio show is only an hour long, and within 60 minutes I can usually fit about 20 songs, give or take a few. This time around, I could only fit 11 songs into the 60 minutes, as a few of the songs were over 5 minutes long (Neil Young’s “Down By The River” is 8:59, Devendra Banhart’s “Seahorse” is 8:04, and Alexi Murdoch’s “Shine” is 7:46.)

Anyway, let’s start with the Velvet Underground. White Light/White Heat, released in 1968, was their second studio album and the last with bassist and founding member John Cale, who began his solo career in the 1970’s.

In 1967, they released their debut album The Velvet Underground and Nico, produced by Andy Warhol. Side note: Warhol designed the well-known album cover. The Velvet Underground toured throughout 1967, but after the album garnered disappointing sales, the band fired Warhol and parted ways with Nico.

White Light/White Heat sounds much more experimental and avant-garde. The title track is about the use of amphetamines (“White light goin’ messin’ up my mind…gonna make me go blind…tickle me down to my toes…messin’ up my brain…”) It was released as a single, the A-side to “Here She Comes Now.” It became a staple for their live performances, and Lou Reed went on to perform the song with Metallica, The Raconteurs, and David Bowie. In fact, Bowie regularly performed the song and recorded a version in 1973 (Bowie also covered the Velvet Underground track “I’m Waiting For The Man”, originally on The Velvet Underground and Nico.

Alright, let’s move on to The Kinks.

Ray Davies wrote the song in 1964 for The Kinks’ debut album Kinks. The Pretenders covered the song in 1980 for their debut album The Pretenders. Ironically, Chrissie Hynde eventually began a relationship with Davies, which led to the birth of a child.

The Kinks had already released “You Really Got Me”, their third single, a few months prior. Reaching number one on the UK singles chart, it became their breakthrough hit. It helped establish them as one of the top British Invasion acts in the United States and was later included on their debut album. Due to its success, the label rushed the release of Kinks (although “Stop Your Sobbing” was not released as a single.)

The Pretenders found success with the song, along with the other two singles “Kid” and “Brass In Pocket.” Their debut album gained both critical and commercial popularity and has been named by Rolling Stone Magazine as #155 on their list of greatest albums of all time. Also, totally random, but I love Hynde’s cameo in Friends as Phoebe’s rival.

I always have to discuss The Beatles, because they are the greatest band of all time (not just my opinion – it’s a known fact. Everyone loves The Beatles.)

Rolling Stone published one of the most interesting articles I’ve read, about the effects LSD had on the album Revolver. No question this is my favorite Beatles’ album, even though Sgt. Pepper came out a year later and is often considered one of the greatest albums of all time. Revolver was the last album released before they permanently quit touring and even though it’s the tipping point of The Beatles moving away from pop music and becoming more experimental in the studio, it often gets overlooked due to the controversy of John Lennon’s comment that “The Beatles were more popular than Jesus” coinciding with its release. On Revolver, you can hear everything from backward tape loops and classical orchestras to Indian music.

I don’t have a favorite track on the album because there honestly isn’t a single bad song, but since I switch off each week on which Beatles song I play on my show, I chose “And Your Bird Can Sing” this time around. The song is memorable for its dual lead guitar melody, played by Paul McCartney and George Harrison. In 2008, Guitar World listed Harrison’s playing as #69 on its “100 Greatest Guitar Solos”, and in 2006, Mojo listed it as #41 on its “101 Greatest Beatles Songs.” (“A Day In The Life”, of course, came in at #1.)

Here is some short information on a few of the other songs:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse/Down By The River: It was released in 1969 and included in Young’s anthology Decade in 1977. Apparently, he wrote it while delirious in bed with a fever. The lyrics allude to it being a murder ballad, as he sings about somebody who kills his lover by shooting her.

Actual Wolf/Your Mother Should Know (Beatles cover): I bought the album this song came from, Minnesota Beatle Project, Volume 5 at a street fair and can’t find much information on it, other than it’s a compilation album of Beatles covers all by bands from Minnesota (as the title suggests.) However, the original Beatles song “Your Mother Should Know” came from 1967’s Magical Mystery Tour.

If you’re curious about any of the other songs I played on the show (listed on the playlist above), hit me up and we can discuss 🙂

Until next time!

DJ Greer


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