I’ve been listening to this song quite often lately.

I think it’s a vain attempt by me to assimilate it in such a way that it becomes autobiographical.

I am having quesadillas tonight.

If you want to drop by.

Tumblr seems to think that when I type quesadillas, I mean to type quadrilles. 

Most popular Rocktober entry to date is M for Madchester.

Least popular is a six-way tie between O, K, J, I, E and D.

O for Oi!

K for Krautrock.

J for Jazz Rock.

I for Indie Pop.

E for Electronic Rock

and D for Dance Rock.

The ABCs of Rocktober.

U is for Underground.

Or what people used to call ‘Alternative.’

Or pretty much anything that didn’t sound like or find its way onto Top 40 radio.

Underground was kind of the first real flowering of ‘outre’ music.

Music that generally dispersed with lovey dovey lyrics and instrumental proficiency and anti-septic production to get to something real, or ugly, or both.

It could be garage music, psych music, avant garde, weirded out folk…

It could be anything.

But it was typically more chaotic, fiercer, noisier.

And it concerned topics not frequently heard in pop songs, like S&M, drugs…

Or more on-the-nose political commentary than served up by Mr. Bob Dylan.

You had artists like Frank Zappa and The Velvet Underground, who were dabbling in musique concrete and other classical forms.

You had artists like MC5 and The Stooges who veered off into free jazz thrash.

You had artists like Wild Man Fischer, who was discovered by Frank Zappa and who, thanks to mental health issues and a jar he threw at Zappa’s daughter, Moon Unit, will probably never have his slightly unsettling and unhinged debut An Evening With Wild Man Fischer ever restored to print.

And many, many more.

But to illustrate underground, I’ve selected The Fugs who took their name from a euphemism that Norman Mailer used for the word ‘fuck.’

The fugs didn’t only sing about fugging.

They sang about drugs.

And they sang about politics.

And their rather crass, irreverent and anti-establishment lyrics not only got them dropped from Atlantic Records (jittery that what is now Warner Music would back out of a deal to buy that historic label, even though Warner imprint Reprise would actually sign the band soon after) but also managed to draw the attention of the FBI.

Ask yourself how many bands today can lay claims to such feats.

This number - CIA Man, is from their first album, and it is not only not safe for work, it’s a wonder that the CIA also didn’t keep a file on the band.

Well, I didn’t see anything that said the CIA kept a file on them.

Maybe that’s what they want you to think. 

I’m not impressed with the most recent upgrade to iTunes.

Specifically the fields for entering artist info or cover art.

Every time I enter the details in the field for the artist name, it start to autofill, and if I press the space bar to continue the name, it seems to decide that I’ve selected whatever has come up first.

Also, I used to be able to copy and paste art for obscure albums right into the artwork field, but no more.

Now I have to download a jpg and then tell iTunes to go find that on the computer.

I want to believe Bono is responsible for this because he ruins everything.

I don’t know what it is about the AVClub writers, but lately, they’re really dropping the ball when it comes to writing informed essays on pop culture that, you know, predates the 21st century.

Take the primer they did on Fleetwood Mac.

All the attention went to the classic California pop lineup.

Barely any mention of anything the group did before Buckingham and Nicks joined Mick and the McVies.

Hey, Mick and the McVies would make a great band name.

Anyway, in glossing over the kind of erratic period after Green’s departure and before that triumphant chart run, they failed to recognize Bob Welch or Danny’s Kirwin’s work, which not only kept the band alive, it helped make that transition possible.

Or even Christine McVie’s wonderful, cautiously romantic tunes.

Anyway, if you ever wondered what a more spaced-out Neil Young might have sounded like, I suggest Bob Welch’s work on Future Games, an unfairly overlooked collection of moody, dreamy rock and roll that is so serene, it’s damn close to meditative.

Just maybe don’t listen to it while operating heavy machinery.

So, last night, I made this recipe I like from a book m’lady has.

I’ve probably told you about it before.

It’s long-grain brown rice (quick cooking) with green pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salsa and some stock all cooked up in a pot, to which I add crumbled Italian sausage.

It’s crazy stupid simple in execution and in ingredients and yet it is incredibly flavorful.

So flavorful for being so simple that it almost occupies my mind in the way a Zen koan would.

always keep

a book 

of poems handy

to ward off

the fear

that you

are alone 

or that no one

has ever felt

the way you do.

If you miss the days when Chrissie Hynde was special (special), so special, you might want to fire up your iTunes and order up the new Ex Hex album - Mary Timony’s power trio that hearkens back to a time when the Ramones wanted to sniff some glue and The Sex Pistols loved the queen. 

The ABCs of Rocktober.

T is for the Tulsa Sound.

The Tulsa sound is like baby bear’s porridge.

Not too hot.

Not too cool.

Just right.

It’s an appellation mainly applied to the artists who came from or were active on the Tulsa, OK scene in the late 60s and 1970s, so there is a bit of stylistic divergence, but not a lot.

For the most part, it’s an easy going melange of blues, rock, folk and country, with individual artists betraying which of those genres is most influential on them, be it the sensitive pop of David Gates or the Beatles-derived power pop of Dwight Twilley.

But the Tulsa sound is perhaps most often linked with JJ Cale.

And yet JJ Cale isn’t even the most popular purveyor of the Tulsa sound. 

That would be Eric Clapton.

It was Clapton who prompted Cale to stick with the music business after the guitar god recorded Cale’s After Midnight.

It would not be the last time Clapton would record Cale’s work.

But it did help Cale get signed to a label, Shelter, where he cut an album of tracks called Naturally.

Not only was Naturally a pioneering work in defining the Tulsa sound, it was one of the first albums released that used a drum machine.

But that bold move wasn’t a bid for innovation as much as it was an act of financial necessity.

There was only so much money available for cutting that album, so tracks demoed with the machine retained that technology when the album was released.

At least that’s what I heard.

I could be wrong.

Regardless, the album scored one top 40 hit, Crazy Mama, that might have done better had Cale not balked at miming it on American Bandstand, and his version of After Midnight topped out just shy of the Top 40.

This bluesy number, however, is my favorite cut on the LP.

Call Me the Breeze.

A blues so laid back that it never works up a bluster, content to just waft along.

Oft covered, but never equaled, it pretty much defined the JJ Cale sound.

Not too hot.

Not too cool.

Just right.

Kind of like a breeze.