Well, not really. I mean, if you expected to find some Tibetan music here I´m sorry to disappoint you. I don´t even own any Tibetan music as far as I know. I´d merely like to dedicate this version of Friday Grab Bag to the Tibetans who are currently protesting the Chinese occupation of their country, contrary to their non-violent religious beliefs. That takes guts, right? Not that it´s going to happen, but a boycott of these outmoded Olympics would be a grand gesture to a people struggling to keep their culture alive, and a rigid digit in the face of a perfidious regime.
Well, now that´s off my chest let´s hear it for some tunes. What caught my fancy this week? Got the new Raconteurs for you, a rare track by Jonathan Richman, and two versions of the great traditional Canadee-I-O. Om mani padme hum, as they say in Lhasa and environs.
Let´s get going with the Flamin Groovies, a sadly forgotten rock ´n´ roll band from San Francisco. In their late sixties/early seventies heyday they sounded and looked rather out of place among the hippies, who didn´t really appreciate their lowdown dirty sound. The Groovies even moved to the UK in ´72 because they had a much bigger following in Europe. The compilation Groovies´ Greatest Grooves (Sire) is an exemplary document to their greatness.
Flamin Groovies - Teenage Head MP3
Let´s rock out some more why don´t we. You probably know by now that the Raconteurs have a new album out, as the ads are everywhere. I loved their debut, and I must say I often prefer the Raconteurs to Jack White´s other band. From the songs I´ve heard so far Consolers Of The Lonely (XL/Warner) is another fine effort, although the more Zeppelinesque excursions manage to irritate me as much as on the first album. But maybe that´s just me, as everybody and their dog seems to like Zep these days.
The Raconteurs - These Stones Will Shout MP3 (deleted on request of our pals at Warner Brothers)
Time to lower the tempo now. Last week I posted the original Nancy Sinatra-Lee Hazlewood duet Sand here, and tonight I just have to play you this amazing cover version by German noisemeisters Einstürzende Neubauten. Blixa Bargeld sings/whispers it like an old pervert and plays a mean solo, while the rest of the band merrily bangs away on their custom built oildrums. Find it on Halber Mensch (Some Bizarre ´85).
Einstürzende Neubauten - Sand MP3
Yesterday´s Modern Lovers track made me hungry for more. Jonathan Richman´s slightly nasal voice never ceases to amaze me. No one sounds as pure and innocent as Jonathan can. Hey There Little Insect comes from a rare acoustic bootleg called Living Room Demos, also known as the Solo Acetate. It was recorded late ´73 or early ´74 in - you guessed it - Jonathan´s living room. I do hope some record label (Rounder perhaps?) will put this out officially sometime. "Hey there, little potato bug..." Great stuff.
Jonathan Richman - Hey There Little Insect MP3
"She´ll never see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O..." A beautiful traditional in a honoured line of songs about girls going out to sea dressed as men to follow their true loves. British folkie Nic Jones recorded it for his exquisite Penguin Eggs album (Topic ´80), and Bob Dylan allegedly used Nic´s arrangement for his own version on Good As I Been To You (Columbia ´92). It´s fun to compare the two. My verdict: Jones wins on guitar, Bob on vocals.
Nic Jones - Canadee-I-O MP3
Bob Dylan - Canadee-I-O MP3
We´re signing off tonight with some sonic mayhem from Jimi Hendrix. Machine Gun (from Band Of Gypsys, MCA ´70) speaks for itself I guess. "I ain´t afraid of your mess no more baby". Free Tibet!
Jimi Hendrix - Machine Gun MP3