Rising

This bit between Christmas and New Year is actually the best bit of the festive season, not quite sure exactly what day it is or what you’re supposed to be doing. Into this blur of overdoing it and the general fug that surrounds us I’m going to chuck these random pieces of pop culture. The picture above shows Kirk Douglas, a Christmas film kind of bloke if ever there was one (The Vikings, Paths Of Glory, Spartacus) relaxing in his mid-century modern style home. Kirk recently turned 102 years old.

One of the best presents I got this Christmas was Beastie Boys Book, a book by the two surviving Beastie Boys and their associates that is no ordinary rock autobiography and all the better for it. In one chapter Ad Rock describes his Toyota Corolla and the mixtape that sound-tracked that period of his life in the early 90s. Ad Rock says that The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground is the greatest record since the invention of recorded sound (or something similar) and let’s be fair, it is a classic golden age of hip-hop, crossover dance hit. Based around a Sly and The Family Stone drum sample rapper Humpty Hump (rapper Shock G’s alter ego) brags about his amazing sexual prowess, attained despite his comical appearance, the boring uniformity of other rappers and the Humpty Dance, a loose, anything goes, just-get-down-and-do-it kind of dance as opposed to the drill formation dancing of MC Hammer. Sure, there may be aspects of the song that are a little dated but we could all do with a little bit of doing the humpty hump…

Two apologies- I don’t have an mp3 of The Humpty Dance at the moment so it’s video only and also the video is TV friendly so bleeps out the profanities.

Tim Burgess is a good Twitter follow and always seems like a really nice bloke. He recently tweeted this clip, The Charlatans in October 1990 at an amphitheatre somewhere on the West Coast of the USA playing their debut single Indian Rope- loose limbed, organ led garage shuffle. There’s a really nice breakdown section in this live version…

Indian Rope is a fine song, a sign that from the start this group were not bandwagoneers at all and had a winning way with a tune.

Indian Rope

Lastly, for no reason other than it needed to go somewhere and this post is as good a palce as any, here is Robert Palmer, live at San Diego State University in 1987, the man from Addicted To Love and Some Guys Have All The Luck, covering Husker Du’s New day Rising, the righteous blast of hardcore punk that opened the album of the same name.

Have a moment to let that sink in. And here’s Bob, Grant and Greg cleaning your ears out back in 1985.

New Day Rising

 

Ciccone

In 1988 Sonic Youth put out The Whitey Album, not very well disguised as Ciccone Youth and in tribute to Madonna Louise Ciccone. Most of the attention was on the record’s cover versions. These had been put out as a single on New Alliance in 1986 and were expanded out for the album. Coming at a time when Sonic Youth were being praised to the heavens for Daydream Nation this was possibly an effective way of defusing some of the hype- some noise, contributions from Mike Watt, jokey covers plus a hip reference to krautrock with the song Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening To Neu! The cover of the album was a photocopied close up of Madonna’s face. Madonna apparently gave her blessing to it, remembering the band from her clubbing and Danceteria days. Ciccone Youth did their Madonna thing on Into The Groove(y) and Burnin’ Up. Someone on Youtube has done the decent thing and set the music to clips of Desperately Seeking Susan (the only Madonna film that is actually watchable).

Better still though was their version of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love. The video and vocal were recorded in a karaoke booth for $25- D.I.Y. punk rock in attitude, style and cost. It was also a very effective way of sending up Palmer’s video with Kim Gordon singing the song deadpan and dancing with images from the Vietnam War flashing over the top.

This is the standard setter and last word in ironic cover versions. And still sounds great.