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The American Metaphysical Circus: You Can't Ever Come Down

It would be too easy to wax nostalgic for nostalgic wax and just list the records that you heard first and will remember always coming out of your older brother's portable radio, the one in the perforated black pleather case. The thing had a handle and a bent antenna and ran on batteries, but around outlets, you could plug it in, and that was living. You remember it as it was, tuned to the same "underground" radio station for half a decade. 

Only in hindsight can you claim critical distinctions between any of the tunes or the musicians on the playlists spun by the college DJs with the cool nicknames, and nasally, post-adolescent voices. The ones bunkered in some out of the way corner on the campus of Brown University.   

As far as you cared, one tune was as laudable or as damnable as another, no matter who the performer. Perhaps with the advent of the rock press, an easily influenced adolescent (you!) started copping attitudes about geniuses and sellouts and all that nonsense, but in the halcyon days of first encounters with the underground, the song was the thing, whether it was the Beatles or Pearls Before Swine, the Byrds or Circus Maximus, Bob Dylan or Tim Buckley or Lord Buckley even.



Rock's OFF

 

The Stones

in Exile

... still !!

 



HUMS OF THE LOVIN' BUNKY AND JAKE

Bunky and Jake L.A.M.F. album cover

Bunky, an attractive black woman from Brooklyn, and Jake, an aspiring white male Bohemian, met between brushstrokes at New York's School of Visual Arts in 1962. In high school, they both had sung on street corners with a cappella groups--Bunky with the Mello-Larks, Jake with Claude and the Emeralds. Eventually they began to be influenced by the folk music coming from the coffeehouses of Greenwich Village. Bunky and Jake, who had first met to rap about the old vocal groups they adored, put an act together and played the folk clubs, singing of being hip in New York City.

Like a good-natured jam, the duo's second album, L.A.M.F., is an eclectic blend of music influences, a record that's funkier and more rooted in traditional rock than the average folk record of the period. Their first album for Mercury, Bunky and Jake, though pleasant enough, was too pop, marred by corny string arrangements.


In contrast, L.A.M.F. sounds like music made on a sunny rooftop among neighborhood friends.  Bunky and Jake are backed by a competent bassist and drummer, and their sound is filled out by various instruments:  organ, vibes, clarinet, piano, conga, and sighs.  The overall feel is of being amiably zonked.
"Songs of lament," Al Jacobs (Jake), in an interview, once labeled the tunes on L.A.M.F., and most of the songs do refer to other times, other places, other artists. 



One Of My Daddy's Favorites: "High Heeled Sneakers"

This footage very well may be the evidence why I am... the way I am. My parents had impeccable taste in music. A FB friend [the ridiculously talented Marc Campbell of Nails fame] posted this song and immediately I remembered how much my dad loved it and all of Billy Lee Riley's stuff... I liked to dance with my Grandmother to this. Bless!

A man of the south, Billy Lee Riley was the son of a sharecropper and learned to play the guitar from folks [read: poorly treated black folks] working on the farm. He headed to Memphis, where he recorded with Sun, however... not unlike many of the best of the best, was poorly represented so sales were slow. In the music business, naturally, that means zip, nada, zero promotion.





I Shall Be Released: THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS

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Wigwam: BOB DYLAN

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500 Miles: PETER, PAUL AND MARY

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AT HIS CURRENT AGE OF 75, WHAT WOULD ELVIS PRESLEY BE DOING IF HE WERE STILL ALIVE?

Elvis 75th birthday photo montage tribute