we’re on an indefinite hiatus, sorry. u can listen to past episodes here
Back at it again at WPKN.
Ya girls stopped by Chris Frantz’s show to talk about Stevie Nicks’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, what we’re grooving to right now, and more. If you missed it live, you can listen to the archive of the episode here.
Jobriath – Jobriath – Elektra – 1973
Bowie. Bolan. The Dolls. These are the names that we have hallowed through the decades as bastions of glam rock, the genre that defined the early ‘70s urban rock scene. Simultaneously swirling around the glam galaxy was a soft-spoken, fair-featured piano prodigy who called himself Jobriath, and though he is less featured in the annals of music history, his influence is no less felt by generations of flamboyant, theatrical rock performers who came after him.
Often cited as the first openly gay rock star, Jobriath rocketed from musical theatre actor and folk songwriter to full-on glam star in seemingly no time at all, thanks to aggressive marketing strategies from his Svengali-like manager, Jerry Brandt. Jobriath burned hot and bright for a few years, but his star fell just as quickly as it rose, and he spent the remainder of his days living out of the pyramid apartment on the roof of the Chelsea Hotel before his premature death in 1983.
In this episode, we unpack the many ways Jobriath’s story — though shorter than his glam peers — has volumes to teaches us about the genre, changing social norms between the last decades of the 20th century and now, gender and sexuality, and why in the h*ck someone would even want to be famous in the first place.
Episode notes and postscript corrections
- If you know Jobriath, welcome. If you’re new to the party, there’s room for you here, too.
- Listen, we know Spotify is mostly shady. But, man, we’ve discovered — and re-discovered — so many awesome artists through our Discover Weekly playlists, and that’s worth a shout.
- The hype machine behind Jobriath is very much of its time. We had a lot to say about how we look at it now, and whether or not that could happen today. Have thoughts? Get at us.
- Shoutout to the collapse of the American Dream and its reverberating effect on how we consume culture as a whole!!!
- If you are any kind of sociologist, anthropologist, historian… in that general realm… and want to talk to us about this for show purposes, YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND US!
- Needless to say, the album bombed and music journalists — mostly men, duh — had a field day writing “you’re a cheap Bowie impersonation” takedowns.
- We stan a good, hit-the-ground-running album opener!
- Revisit our episode on the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls to get an idea of what we’re talking about with this whole Mick Jagger comparison and ~circle of influence~
- Jobriath made great strides as the first openly gay rock star, but it’s interesting to see how much he kept private at the same time.
- Carly is ABSOLUTELY that Theatre Girl who will reference obscure cast recordings, do not @ us!!!
- Again, maybe Carrie’s 21st century cynicism speaking but: When an artist candidly states their desire for fame and a glamorous life, how do you tell what’s authentic? When does their art transcend being something they love and becomes something they do because it gets them fame?
- Okay but seriously, peep the lyrics to “World Without End” and try to tell us culture isn’t cyclical
- Is “Space Clown” just generic brand “Starman”?
- Late-60s/early-70s pop culture was truly wildin’ for space and an abstract view of the future and we love how endearingly dated it ends up being
- “I’m a Man” is an ahead of its time jam and a half, thank you for coming to our TED Talk
- We’ll do an episode on John Cale eventually. We know we bring him up too often for not having given him his own episode to shine.
- Masculinity is so complicated and we cannot believe this song about the ways it can be both aggressive and fragile came out in 1973.
- Like, seriously, we’re only now starting to seriously talk about gender and toxic masculinity and just now see more inclusivity for pop stars challenging gender norms. Shouts to Jobriath for bringing this up decades ago.
- Here’s a quick guide to androgyny in rock — which shows its male privilege and begs us to question: Why weren’t women afforded the same opportunities — or as many opportunities — to gender-bend as their male counterparts?
- In the end, it’s all a flex.
- Once again, we LIVE for the way ‘70s music referenced rock of the ‘50s and how much glam influenced punk.
- Hit up our Blondie episode for more on this
- Musical family trees are our bread and butter, truly.
- It’s incredible see how much Jobriath’s legacy lives on, particularly in very recent history. You know we’ve got a bunch of examples for you in our new and improved master playlist.
- As always, find and follow us on Facebook and Twitter if you don’t already.
Favorite track(s): I’m A Man (Carly) | I’m A Man (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Space Clown (Carly) | Blow Away (Carrie)
we couldn’t find anything further detailed than “performer” for many of the talent credited
- Jobriath — writer, performer, producer
- Steve Love — guitar
- Billy Schwartz — guitar
- Andy Muson — performer
- Ken Bichel — performer
- Peter Frampton — performer
- Carl Hall — performer
- Tasha Thomas — performer
- Heather Macrae — performer
- Peggy Nestor — performer
- John Syomis — performer
- Gerhard — performer
- Zenobia — performer
Music’s Unsung LGBTQ Heroes | Rolling Stone (June 2018)
The Tragedy of Jobriath, the World’s First Openly Gay Rock Star | Gay Times (May 2018)
The Unbelievably True Story of Jobriath, Music’s First Openly Gay Rock Star | Highsnobiety (April 2017)
The Rise and Fall of Jobriath, Pop’s First Openly Gay Star | AnOther (January 2017)
A Life Story of Glitter and Tragedy | The New York Times (May 2014)
Cole Berlin: An Elegy | The Spectacled Avenger (July 2012)
Jobriath: The Man Who Fell To Earth | The Guardian (March 2012)
Raw Like Sushi – Neneh Cherry – Virgin – 1989
By 1989, 25-year-old Neneh Cherry had already lived multiple vibrant lives. The child of bohemians (her mother, artist Moki Cherry, and her step-father, jazz musician Don Cherry). The 14-year-old high school dropout-turned-downtown-club-kid. The 16-year-old touring the UK with The Slits. The lead singer of post-punk band Rip Rig + Panic. Wife and mother. Divorced single mother, lover, and collaborator. All of these eclectic experiences and identities shape the 10 tracks of Cherry’s debut solo album Raw Like Sushi. Like Cherry, the album is impossible to pin down as one thing; it’s feisty and assertive, using a melting pot of influences from rap to funk to dance pop to convey a young woman’s truths without waiting for permission to do so.
Though the album is nearly 30 years old, it’s one we have found ourselves listening to often in recent months, marveling at its prescience and continued relevancy. Not only do we hear 2018 ring in its girl power-inspiring anthems, assertions of female sexuality, or rebuking of Men Behaving Badly. We hear its decade-defining production reflected in current artists attempting to recreate specific dated sounds of the past — and use this album as a reminder that we need to understand where we have been to know where we are going.
In this episode, we unpack the layers of this album’s lasting sonic influence, discuss and debate the ways its topics remain relevant in today’s cultural and political climate, and salute Neneh Cherry’s prolific unfuckwithable baddiness.
Episode notes and postscript corrections
- Hey, hi, hello! Our apologies for our lengthy absence, but this is our side hustle and our real lives got lowkey busy, but we’re back!
- This album is only two years older than us. Is that weird?
- Shoutout to Viv Albertine and her dope 2014 memoir for turning us on to Neneh Cherry.
- Peep our further watching links below to see Neneh performing with the Slits.
- “We went over [to America] with our funny little posse from London. And in the black department, [“Buffalo Stance”] wasn’t black enough, and in the white department, it was too black. So it was just this weird middle satellite, floating around.” — Neneh Cherry, Pitchfork, 2014
- Okay but “Kisses On The Wind” brings up such a complicated discussion about girls acting older than they are and the ramifications, false (or maybe not!) confidences, and power dynamics involved. We could talk all day about this stuff; hit us up if you have thoughts.
- While we’re randomly talking about Paula Abdul, please enjoy this, the single greatest video on the internet.
- We’re both super into this weird current music trend we’ve been in for a couple of years now with bops throwing it back to ‘80s production techniques. (Hi Jack Antonoff! Hi Rostam! Hi Dev Hynes!)
- Here’s Carly’s throwback-but-not-actually-throwback playlist for those of you who like the darker goth-y and club-y stuff
- Here’s Carrie’s throwback-but-not-actually-throwback playlist for those of you who like pop-y and new wave-y stuff
- We could spend a longgggg time talking about how many artists Neneh Cherry has inspired, but to save space, we’ll just direct you to our massive Spotify master playlist for a bunch of recommended listening.
- After an 18-year absence, Neneh Cherry is back on her game, making great music for our times. Her latest release, this month’s Broken Politics, is no exception.
- As always, find and follow us on Facebook and Twitter if you don’t already.
Favorite track(s): Buffalo Stance and Inna City Mama (Carly) | Buffalo Stance and Heart (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Love Ghetto (Carly) | Inna City Mamma (Carrie)
- Neneh Cherry — Vocals, programming
- Sandy McLelland — Background vocals
- Chandra Armstead — Background vocals
- Cameron “Booga Bear” McVey — Background vocals, executive producer, mixing, beats
- Phil Chill — Programming, beats, background vocals
- Claudia Fontaine — Background vocals
- Nellee Hooper — Vibraphone
- Jerod — Guitar
- Alvin Moody — Bass
- Nick Plytas — Programming
- Jeff Scantlebury — Conga
- John Sharp — Programming
- Tim Simenon — Beats
- Dynamik Duo — Beats
- Mark Saunders — Multi-instruments, beats
- Wil Malone — Conductor, programming, string arrangements
- Gordon Dukes — Background vocals
- Mushroom — Programming
Montreux Jazz Festival interview | 2012
Performance + Interview on Arsenio Hall | 1993
“Manchild” live on Top of the Pops | 1989
”Buffalo Stance” live on Top of the Pops | 1988
The Slits – The Man Next Door live | 1981
Neneh Cherry Never Stopped Taking Risks. Now She’s Making Politics Personal | New York Times (October 2018)
Neneh Cherry Is Back and More Fashionable Than Ever | Vogue (August 2018)
Raw Like Sushi Sunday Review | Pitchfork (April 2018)
Neneh Cherry Will Get an Overdue New York Debut | New York Times (January 2015)
Disorienting Eclecticism: Neneh Cherry’s Raw Like Sushi Revisited | The Quietus (May 2014)
Raw Like Sushi review | BBC (2009)
Neneh Cherry: Homestyle | Rolling Stone (February 1993)
The Marble Index – Nico – Elektra – 1968
Although she had been a presence in the New York’s downtown music scene in the ’60s, Nico didn’t begin writing her own songs until late 1967. Dismayed at the finished product of her first solo album, 1967’s Chelsea Girl, she started to pen her own poems, exploring the truth of her own experiences and putting it to haunting harmonium music. Rejecting the Warhol Factory persona that had given her fame, if not artistic satisfaction, Nico allowed herself to outwardly display her inner darkness: she stopped dying her hair platinum blonde, opting for dark red instead, and took to wearing all black. Though many critics believed this was a character she was adopting to make the album seem more authentic, what they were actually seeing, along with the rest of the world, was a free woman. Here was an artist giving herself the room to turn her own reality into art, no matter how messy, dark, and frightening that reality could be. For a woman in 1968, this wasn’t just an odd rarity; it was trailblazing.
Cited by many as the first goth album, The Marble Index went on to influence a number of artists in the goth rock movement that grew out of late-1970s post-punk, including Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus. Within her strident, discordant, and atonal sounds, Nico created an album that carved out a place in mainstream commercial music for artists, notably female artists, who express because they have to — even if you’re not sure that you like what you hear.
In this episode, we unpack the album’s influences and lasting influence, both Nico’s triumphs and and her myriad problems, and just what makes this album so difficult for many to listen to.
Episode notes and postscript corrections
- PSA: This episode deals with dark and heavy subject material. If you’re not feeling your best right now, take care of you and listen with discretion.
- If your only familiarity with Nico is her work with the Velvet Underground or Chelsea Girl, brace yourselves, because you are in for one bizarre ride.
- TBH Nico often expressed a problematic lot of internalized misogyny (among many more Very Bad No Good Horrible views)
- The Marble Index is pointed to as the first goth album by several goth rock bands from the ‘80s
- So much so that Nico and Bauhaus played together one time and it was… wow.
- Carrie doesn’t fully know why she doesn’t like ‘80s goth but maybe @ her if you have an idea.
- Get @ us: Do you prefer post-punk goth like Carly or spoopy Mary Shelley stuff like The Marble Index?
- Check out our further reading links below for Lester Bangs’ take on The Marble Index. If *he* was scared of it, you know it’s some heavy stuff.
- Sad girls of tumblr = Chelsea Girl. IRL depression = The Marble Index.
- “Women are poison. If I wasn’t so special, I could hate myself.” — Nico. See, we said she was problematic.
- Here’s the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that Carly was reminded of by “Frozen Warnings”
- A thought: very few women were making “dark” music in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s — and certainly none in the vein of Nico — but women were exploring depression and anxiety and bleak themes in literature.
- Read some of Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays while listening to this album if you wanna get fucked up.
- No, seriously, Nico told so many lies about herself that someone named a biography of her The Life and Lies of an Icon
- An enormous shoutout to Danny Fields, Jac Holzman, and John Cale for being awesome men who championed Nico and pushed for this album to be made, regardless of whether or not it would sell.
- As always, check out our master playlist on Spotify to listen to all the tracks we talked about in this episode, including a slew of legacy influences.
- Here’s Carly’s goth rock playlist
- Nico : The Marble Index :: Kim Gordon : Body/Head. Even though Sonic Youth got their start more rooted in noise and no wave, it was a huge change for Kim Gordon after the more melodic music she made in Sonic Youth’s final days.
- Share all your thoughts with us!
Favorite track(s): Frozen Warnings (Carly) | Frozen Warnings and Ari’s Song (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Facing the Wind (Carly) | Julius Caesar (Memento Hodié) (Carrie)
- Nico — Words, music, harmonium, vocals
- John Cale — Arrangements
- John Haeny — Engineer
- Frazier Mohawk — Producer
- Jac Holzman — Production supervisor
Made You Look: On Beauty, Ugliness, and Nico (ed. note: If you only read one of these pieces, wowwowwow make it this one) | The Ringer (August 2018)
7 Musicians Reflect on Nico’s Enduring Influence | New York Times T Magazine (August 2018)
Thirty Years After Her Death, Nico Finally Comes Into Focus | Pitchfork (April 2018)
The influence and tragedy of Nico | i-D (March 2017)
Nico and The Marble Index: “She hated the idea of being beautiful” | Uncut (October 2015)
Nico: Facing The Wind – The Marble Index trilogy | The Quietus (January 2013)
You won’t enjoy Nico’s album, but it’s good for you | The Guardian (October 2008)
The Frozen Borderline: 1968-70 deluxe reissue review | Pitchfork (March 2007)
Your Shadow Is Scared of You: An Attempt Not to Be Frightened By Nico (ed. note: This is some Lester Bangs goodness) | New Wave Rock (1978)
The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get – Joe Walsh – ABC-Dunhill – 1973
In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, the late Glenn Frey describes his bandmate Joe Walsh as “an interesting bunch of guys.” The statement is meant to be comedic relief, there to set up the story of how the wild, unpredictable Joe Walsh — the one famous for hotel room trashing antics — ushered in a new chapter of the Eagles’ late-70s hedonism. But, if you take a closer look, the description rings true for his musical sensibilities, as well.
Few places can it apply more aptly than 1973’s The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, Walsh’s second solo album in collaboration with his band Barnstorm. Though the album would come to be remembered mostly for its lasting arena rock hit “Rocky Mountain Way,” Walsh explores all of his musical personalities, from the dad rock shredder to the softer, more introspective, singer-songwriter to the psychedelic-influenced long-winded jammer. In this episode, we dig through the varied influences Walsh pulls from, discuss Barnstorm members’ individual contributions, unpack the multitudes Joe Walsh contains, and more.
Listen to The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get: Spotify *
*at this time, The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get is not available in the US on iTunes, nor is it in full on YouTube.
Episode notes and postscript corrections
- Hello, and welcome to a fun and chill and casual summer episode. Think of this as a not-so-guilty-pleasure beach read, but let it also be a lesson in not judging books by their covers!
- Joe Walsh has had quite a career, from the James Gang to Barnstorm to the Eagles, and, wow, quite a life. When we getting the biopic, Hollywood?
- Shoutout to Joe Walsh for embracing different technology on this album, particularly on this track.
- For real, you would never associate an ARP synth with early-70s Cal rock.
- That talk box tho. Here’s a more in-depth explainer of what it is and how Joe Walsh came to use it.
- Isn’t it cool how centuries-old styles can influence modern classic rock? Here’s a little explainer on what a pastoral is, if you’re curious.
- Friendly reminder to hit up our master playlist on Spotify to listen to all these similar and influential tracks we’re dropping.
- Shoutout to Joe Walsh for letting all members of Barnstorm collaborate and write tracks or sing them on this album. It’s not your typical solo venture.
- Check out our further watching links below to see Joe Walsh continue to shred tf out of “Meadows” in this century.
- Friendly reminder that we have a glossary to check out, if you’re unfamiliar with some of the millennial or ‘77MC-native slang we throw around from time to time (from who JB Homie is to what we mean by RihannaMagic.gif)
- You know we like to stand up on our “bands are a sum of their parts” pedestal, and this is no different — all members of Barnstorm had their own unique contributions. Positioning Joe Walsh as a solo star was very much a label-head marketing move (and one that ultimately worked to his benefit).
- Hi, the Eagles love money, bye.
- Legacy is such a weird thing, and because Joe Walsh, and this album, have such eclectic styles (aside from his distinct guitar playing style), how do you trace their lineage to this generation? We have some of our thoughts in our master playlist, but we’re still thinking about it.
- Let us know what you think:
- Does this album have stand-out elements that make it immediately identifiable with Joe Walsh, or does it sound like a pleasant, but “could be anyone” vibe? Is that even necessarily a bad thing?
- Did we miss anyone? Who today shows strong Walsh and/or Barnstorm influence?
- Share all your thoughts with us!
Favorite track(s): Rocky Mountain Way and Dreams (Carly) | Rocky Mountain Way (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Midnight Moodies (Carly) | Wolf (Carrie)
- Joe Walsh — Lead and backing vocals, lead and slide guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizer
- Kenny Passarelli — Bass guitar, guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals (“Happy Ways”)
- Joe Vitale — Drums, percussion, piano, keyboards, electric piano, flute. backing vocals, lead vocals (“Book Ends”, “Days Gone By”)
- Rocke Grace — Keyboards, backing vocals
- Joe Lala — Percussion
- Venetta Fields — Backing vocals
- Cydie King — Backing vocals
“Meadows” live | 2017
Joe Walsh survived some serious good times as a young rocker (Stephen Colbert interview) | 2017
Joe Walsh’s apology to millennials / “In The City” live
NAMM Q&A | 2016
Joe Walsh Les Paul Set-Up (ed note: ohmygod this is just delightful) | 2015
60 Minutes Australia interview | 2014
Joe Walsh on Letterman talking about an earthquake (ed note: oh my god) | 1987
“Rocky Mountain Way” live with the Eagles | 1977
45 Years Ago: Joe Walsh Barnstorms Through ‘The Smoker You Drink…’ | Ultimate Classic Rock (January 2018)
The Tao of Joe Walsh | The Paris Review (September 2013)
Joe Walsh Discusses His Career, Gear, and New Album | Guitar World (June 2012)
Joe Walsh, Child of the Silent Majority: Ex-James Gangster Tends His Garden (ed note: this is vintage Cameron Crowe goodness) | February 1975
The Slits now-iconic 1979 debut Cut is an unusual, but delightful, melting pot of sounds: strains of UK punk mix with Jamaican reggae, girlish chants dance with abrasive DIY noise. Slipping between the grooves and finding a home within the mix — perhaps most indecipherably, or even curiously, to the casual listener — is the influence of the early-60s pop standards of Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach.
Growing up in post-war Britain in the 1960s, Slits guitarist Viv Albertine heard plenty of Warwick’s hits while listening to pop radio. Later, as a scrappy young woman running around London with next to no money and not much to do in the early-to-mid ‘70s, she came across a compilation album — Dionne Warwick’s Golden Hits, Part One — in a used record shop with her bandmates. It became not just an album that they spent countless hours listening to together, playing it front-to-back over and over again, but one they — particularly Viv and lead singer Ari Up — would study, dissecting songs to their individual parts and taking note of the details, attempting to learn how to emulate Warwick and Bacharach in their own unique way.
For the past 40 years, the Slits have served as touchstones for female musicians, often cited for blazing a necessary trail for the coming riot grrrl movement and beyond. Today, we have the privilege of being able to look to Viv Albertine, and the Slits as a whole, for inspiration and empowerment, and are finally beginning to see their important role in history recognized in more mainstream circles. But in their formative years, female role models, particularly musicians, were much harder to come by; Dionne Warwick was one of them.
In this very special episode, we are so pleased to discuss Dionne Warwick’s Golden Hits, Part One with Viv Albertine herself. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation that touches upon Warwick, Bacharach, and Hal David’s influence on the Slits’ music, as well as their own lives as young women in late-70s and early-80s London, the importance of representation, and so much more.
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Episode notes and postscript corrections
First and foremost: We’ve said this a million times, but we truly cannot recommend Viv’s books more or praise them highly enough. Both have had a tremendous impact on us, and we have yet to meet anyone who has read either and cannot say the same.
Support your local small bookstore or check them out here:
To Throw Away Unopened | 2018
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. | 2014
Follow our master playlist on Spotify to hear every song we discussed today
Follow Viv Albertine on Facebook and Twitter
Follow ’77 Music Club on Facebook and Twitter or shoot us an email if you have thoughts
Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits documentary trailer | 2017
Viv Albertine in conversation at British Library | 2016
The Culture Show: Girls Will Be Girls (BBC women in punk documentary) | 2014
“Typical Girls” music video | 1979
The Slits live performance and interview | 1970s; specific year unknown
Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach: Live at the Rainbow Room | 1996
Burt Bacharach… This Is Now (BBC documentary) | 1996
“Walk On By” live | 1965
“Don’t Make Me Over” live | 1963
On Viv and the Slits
New Doc on The Slits Questions Why These Pioneering Punks Have Been Overlooked | Paper (May 2018)
Viv Albertine Has Used Her Rage to Write Herself into Punk History | Noisey (April 2018)
The Slits Are Refusing to be Written Out of Music History | Noisey (October 2017)
The Slits’ Viv Albertine Defaces Male-Focused Punk Exhibition | Pitchfork (July 2016) ed note: HYFR, BAMF move.
How we made Cut | The Guardian (June 2013)
Like Choosing a Lover: Viv Albertine’s Favorite Albums | The Quietus (April 2013)
Girls Unconditional: The story of the Slits, told exclusively by the Slits | Loud and Quiet (July 2009)
Cut re-release album review | Pitchfork (February 2005)
50 Essential Albums of 1967: Dionne Warwick’s Golden Hits, Part 1 | Rolling Stone (September 2017)
Burt Bacharach interview: what was it all about? | The Telegraph (June 2013)
Dionne Warwick: ‘I refused a couple of Bacharach and David songs’ | The Guardian (November 2012)
Dionne Warwick sings Hal David’s last lyrics | CNN (September 2012)
Music And Lyrics: Burt Bacharach and Hal David | NPR (May 2010)
Bacharach and David: Reconciled and Honored | LA Times (May 1993)
Singers: Spreading the Faith | Time (July 1967)
Creator and co-host: Carly Jordan
Co-host, editor, producer: Carrie Courogen
Special thanks to: Becky Kraemer and Viv Albertine
The following phone interview conversation took place on June 24, 2018. It has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Carly Jordan: Thank you so much for talking to us for the show. I was really psyched that you wanted to talk about Dionne Warwick.
Viv Albertine: Oh, Dionne Warwick, yes! You don’t think that was a weird one?
CJ: No, I didn’t think that was weird at all.
Carrie Courogen: No.
CJ: We didn’t think that was weird.
CC: We thought it was really interesting.
CJ: Because in your first book, I remember reading about all of the different artists that influenced you when you were coming up in the ‘70s, and none of them were what I thought they were gonna be, and they were so varied and so interesting. So, I was not at all surprised that you chose Dionne Warwick.
VA: Oh, good! [laughs]
CJ: So, when did Dionne Warwick first come to your attention and what about her voice stuck out to you in particular?
VA: Well, I think I first probably heard Dionne Warwick in the ‘60s when I was just listening to chart music, because she had a couple of hits, but the reason I chose the album was because it was one of about four albums we had within the Slits, when we all sort of lived together and shared everything and had to go everywhere together because just the way we dressed enacted — we were being attacked all the time, so we spent so much time together and we just sort of pulled the few things we had. And, back in those days, you know you had a few albums ‘cause they cost so much. We got Dionne Warwick, I think, Golden Hits, Part One, which is her singing the Burt Bacharach – Hal David songs, from the record exchange shop, so, it was a used copy. And we absolutely sort of studied it, you know?
Break out your cargo shorts and New Balances, fire up the grill, and crack open a cold one with the boys. We here at ’77 Music Club are fond proponents of dad rock and are here to soundtrack your day. We rounded up our favorite episodes on the genre below. Tune in and turn it up — but please, for the love of god, don’t dance.
Eli and the Thirteenth Confession – Laura Nyro – Columbia – 1968
The source of inspiration for her peers and generations of songwriters to come, Bronx-born Laura Nyro has a legacy that has only grown in legend and mysticism since her untimely death in the early ‘90s. Lauded by Carole King, likened to Joni Mitchell, and emulated by some of today’s cleverest singer-songwriters, her style was singular, speaking of and to the female experience in a way that was at once specific and universal, relatable and abstract.
In this episode, we comb through her 1968 album Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, a collection of songs so rife with evocative imagery and sense of self that it brought up many of our own memories, connections to our own experiences as young women in 2018, and of course, musical earworms. For a 50-year-old album recorded and produced by a 20-year-old girl, this prodigious record still remains astonishingly relevant.
Episode notes and postscript corrections
- Hello, and welcome to a new season of the pod! Literally nothing has changed; we’re just calling it a new season because we took a break (because we are our own bosses who determine when and why we go on hiatus and when and why we come back!)
- Some things we mentioned to check out:
- The Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is a dope book if you’re into New York and music and history and where they all intersect and want to know where everything happened. We were pleased to moderate the discussion for the book’s launch at Rough Trade this week.
- ‘80s Redux is a dope book if you’re into music and the ‘80s and photography of cool people doing cool things.
- We’re gonna talk about this a lot because we’re so stunned by it, but something to keep in mind during this whole thing: Laura Nyro was just 20 when this was made. TWENTY.
- Don’t forget to hit up and follow our master playlist on Spotify to hear all these songs, the covers that actually made money, and more!
- “YES, WE KNOW.” — all of you when Carrie says she hates flutes
- See our further watching links below to see the debut of “Poverty Train” at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Cry your eyes out when you hear they were yelling “beautiful” at her, knowing she spent her whole life since thinking they were booing.
- Hit up the lyrics here.
- They’re heavy as hell.
- Moral of the story: Be careful if you take drugs.
- Evergreen Take: “Dated” doesn’t always necessarily mean bad or unenjoyable.
- “Lonely Women” clearly created a divide in interpretation between the two of us. Slide into our DMs or email us to let you know what you think. It’s complicated and we’re interested.
- See our further reading links below for some more info about Laura Nyro’s relationship with Maria Desidero, who may or may not have been the inspiration for “Timer” and “Emmie.”
Favorite track(s): Luckie and Timer (Carly) | Eli’s Comin’ and Stoned Soul Picnic (Carrie)
Least favorite track: December’s Boudoir (Carly) | December’s Boudoir (Carrie)
- Laura Nyro — piano, vocal, harmonies, “witness to the confession”
- Ralph Casale — acoustic guitar
- Chet Amsterdam — acoustic guitar, bass
- Hugh McCracken — electric guitar
- Chuck Rainey — bass
- Artie Schroeck — drums, vibes
- Buddy Saltzman — drums
- Dave Carey — percussion
- Bernie Glow, Pat Calello, Ernie Royal — trumpet
- George Young, Zoot Sims — saxophone
- Wayne Andre, Jimmy Cleveland, Ray DeSio — trombone
- Joe Farrell — saxophone, flute
- Paul Griffin — piano on “Eli’s Comin'” and “Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)”
Laura Nyro in the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame | 2014
Laura Nyro’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction | 2012
Alice Cooper discusses his love for Laura Nyro (ed note: OH MY GOD) | 2011
“Poverty Train” at the Monterey Pop Festival (with current intro from D.A. Pennebaker, Michelle Phillips, and Lou Adler) | 1967
Laura Nyro remembered: “A musical force of nature” | Uncut (June 2017)
Laura Nyro’s Lasting, Eclectic Musical Legacy | NPR (December 2011)
Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, Maria Desiderio | Rabdrake Blog (October 2009)
An Enigma Wrapped in Songs | The New York Times (October 1997)
Laura Nyro’s legacy of passion | Entertainment Weekly (April 1997)