Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Strange Bedfellows Part 2

One of the interesting things about arranging a record collection in alphabetical order (yep :/ ) is the jarring clashes that can happen between artists. Here are MORE fun examples:

The Sugarhill Gang: The Sugarhill Gang (Sugarhill, 1979)

One of the landmarks of rap, this patchy LP actually features lots of wishy-washy disco type stuff, though 'Rapper's Delight' remains one of the all-time great rap songs. The tone of the whole album is worlds apart from the gritty, tough sound pioneered by Run DMC shortly thereafter. In fact, the whole thing couldn't be much more different from...

Suicidal Tendencies: How Will I Laugh Tomorrow... When I Can't Even Smile Today? (Virgin, 1988)

A classic more-or-less thrash album from the hardcore/crossover legends, Suicidal Tendencies brought angst into metal long before it was a standard genre trait/cliche. And they did it well.

Lee Perry: The Upsetter (Trojan, 1969)

Classic ska with strong R&B tendencies, Lee Perry was still some years away from his eccentric deconstructions of music and at this point based in the 3-minute pop song tradition; no bad thing, but not as overtly 'fun' as...

Louis Prima & Keely Smith: Louis & Keely! (Dot, 1960?)

Louis Prima had been both a serious (but fun) jazz/swing bandleader and was later to be The Jungle Book's 'King of the Swingers'. Between times he released several excellent LPs with Keely Smith; light, sometimes jazzy swing, featuring timeless and funny duets juxtaposing Prima's 'wild' style with Keely's icy coolness.

The Runaways: Queens of Noise (Mercury, 1977)

The Runaways are somewhat misrepresented these days as being somehow connected to the punk explosion; in reality they had more in common with the heavy glam pop-rock of bands like Kiss or Angel and Queens of Noise is probably their strongest album. Equally accomplished in a completely different way is....

The Rutles: The Rutles (Warner Bros, 1978)

Eric Idle and Neil Innes' excelllent Beatles parody is not only funny and accomplished, it is also for the most part a pretty good listen; songs like 'I Must Be In Love' and 'With a Girl Like You' are good in the same way that early Beatles songs are good; and even overtly silly ones like 'Cheese and Onions' have enough authenticity to make them work as songs as well as they do as jokes.

Run DMC: Raising Hell (London, 1986)

A breakthrough album for Run DMC, if not their best. A solid, tough, if somewhat slickly produced slab of overgroud rap. In stark contrast to...

Rush: 2112 (Mercury, 1976)

One of the classics of 70s hard rock, 2112, is a powerful and at times ludicrous conceptual piece by the Canadian trio. worth having (if you like such things) for 'Temples of Syrinx' alone.


The Supremes: A' Go Go (Motown, 1966)

This was the first album by an all-female (apart from the anonymous musicians presumably) group to reach number one on the Billboard chart, and it was pretty much a surefire hit, comprising as it does of classic tailor-made Holland-Dozier-Holland songs ('You Can't Hurry Love') alongside interpretations of hit songs well suited to The Supremes' oddly soulless brand of pop-soul ('These Boots', 'Hang on Sloopy'). Traditionally, the 'manufactured' pop act founders when going its own way, which is true to some degree of...

The Sweet: Desolation Boulevard (RCA, 1974)

Although resoundingly not an albums band, The Sweet managed a not-band hard rock LP before blanding out completely. This has only one Chinn/Chapman glam anthem ('The Six Teens') but makes up for it with some fairly decent self-written material, most notably (by a mile) the classic 'Fox on the Run'. It's hard to say how far The Sweet's decline can be attributed to the band's often uninspired songwriting or just changing fashion, but after this they were never the same.





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