Category Archives: DAVID JOHANSEN

VARIOUS ARTISTS Stormy Weather: The Music Of Harold Arlen (2003) – One More For Hal Willner Week

Stormy WeatherStormy Weather: The Music Of Harold Arlen (2003)
Unique Among Willner’s Illustrious Tribute LPs

A better-late-than-never addition to our Hal Willner Week series of multi-artist tribute albums, with big thanks to JeffGee for sending this gem our way. Stormy Weather: The Music Of Harold Arlen is actually the soundtrack to a 76-minute film that stylishly interprets Harold Arlen’s music with unusual (and somewhat controversial) visual presentations. Arlen (1905-1986) and his various writing partners, including Yip Harburg, Johnny Mercer and Ira Gershwin, among others, are perhaps best know for penning epic, smoldering staples of the America Songbook, from The Wizard Of Oz‘s “Over The Rainbow” to “One More For My Baby (And One More For The Road)” to this project’s title track(s), “Stormy Weather.” But, from the perspective of Broadway fanatics and film lovers, this album was successful primarily in just pissing off purists, as Hal Willner (and film director Larry Weinstein) took a sometimes skewed approach to the music that’s been etched in memories by the likes of Sinatra, Streisand and Garland. Let’s face it… The New York Dolls’ David Johansen isn’t going to fit in with many pre-conceived notions of what a Harold Arlen song should sound like, despite this collection’s more traditional interpretations from Rufus Wainwright, Shannon McNally or the great Jimmy Scott. Non-purists, on the other hand, might be drawn to the more outrageous of Arlen’s (and lyricist Ted Koehler’s) Minnie The Moocher offshoots, which deal descriptively with cocaine and opium use… where Johansen fits right in, covering “Kickin’ The Gong Around” (30s slang for Chinatown opium use). One unique aspect of this LP being a film soundtrack, is the inclusion of older artists and their recordings, including a rare recording by Arlen himself (“Last Night When We Were Young”) and The Boswell Sisters with The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra performing “The Wedding Of Minnie The Moocher” (with even more references to kickin’ the gong). For fun, we’ve included a video of Cab Calloway’s 1932 performance of the song that – though originally featured in a Bing Crosby movie – is so drug-laced it couldn’t pass television censors even now, over 80 years later. Find all of our Hal Willner Week posts, HERE. And… while it’s not totally related to Arlen, get one of my favorite “unreleased” live albums in the archives, AT&T Presents Stormy Weather, HERE. The hard disc of Stormy Weather: The Music Of Harold Arlen is selling for as little as $3 at Amazon, HERE.


Rufus Wainwright It’s Only A Paper Moon (4:43)
Shannon McNally
As Long As I Live (3:33)
Marc Anthony Thompson
I Gotta Right To Sing the Blues (6:09)
Debbie Harry
Stormy Weather/Ill Wind (Medley) (5:21)
Jimmy Scott
I Had A Love Once (2:54)
David Johansen
Kickin’ The Gong Around (3:26)
Harold Arlen
Last Night When We Were Young (3:12)
Hawksley Workman
I’ve Got The World On A String (3:46)
Mary Margaret O’Hara
Blues In The Night (4:44)
The Boswell Sisters with The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
Minnie The Moocher’s Wedding Day (3:09)
Eric Mingus
Get Happy (3:43)
Sandra Bernhard
Come Rain Or Come Shine (3:06)
Rufus Wainwright
I Wonder What Became Of Me (3:37)
Ranee Lee
The Man That Got Away (4:06)
Mary Margaret O’Hara & Eric Mingus
Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive (2:55)
Jimmy Scott
Over The Rainbow (2:57)
Ranee Lee
Stormy Weather (4:25)


The great Cab Calloway strips any pretense from Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler’s “Kickin’ The Gong Around,” acting out the lyric’s coke-snortin’ shakes in 1932’s The Big Broadcast.

Hal Willner Week: VARIOUS ARTISTS The Harry Smith Project: Anthology Of American Folk Music Revisited (2006)

The Harry Smith Project Anthology Of American Folk Music RevisitedThe Harry Smith Project: Anthology Of American Folk Music Revisited (2006)
A Tribute To History’s Motherlode

One of Hal Willner’s artistic habits (in later years) was to gather together participants and friends to stage live performances of the tribute albums he had earlier produced. For The Harry Smith Project: Anthology Of American Folk Music Revisited, Willner skipped the studio process altogether and went straight to the stage, gathering this assortment of collaborators to pay tribute to Alan Lomax’s legendary and highly influential 1952 release, The Anthology of American Folk Music. The Harry Smith Project was originally released as a 2CD/2DVD set, which chronicled these live performances captured in Los Angeles, New York and London in 1999 and 2001. You shouldn’t need much of an introduction to the kind of music heard here… it’s the legendary roots Americana that laid the foundation for most of the music you’ve heard throughout your life, whether you ever heard the originals or not. Though, the participants here take their own stylistic liberties with some of the arrangements. I won’t recount the talents involved as you can see the list, and hear a couple of examples, below. Big thanks to Jeff Gee for sharing this 2006 set with us for Hal Willner Week. Those wanting Harry Smith’s original Anthology Of American Folk Music, can find it in (Son Of) Readers Links (HERE, dated today). Find more of Hal Willner’s incredible tribute work in the archives, HERE. Find the 2CD/2DVD Harry Smith Project box set at Amazon, HERE.

1
David Johansen Old Dog Blue (3:52)
Steve Earle
Prison Cell Blues (3:50)
Wilco
James Alley Blues (4:25)
Beth Orton
Frankie (4:45)
Beck
Last Fair Deal Gone Down (3:34)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle
Sugar Baby (4:30)
Elvis Costello
The Butcher’s Boy (4:14)
David Thomas
Way Down The Old Plank Road (5:14)
Richard Thompson with Eliza Carthy
The Coo Coo Bird (4:17)
Ed Sanders
My Baby Done Left Me (2:43)
Nick Cave
John The Revelator (4:31)
Eric Mingus and Gary Lucas
Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting? (3:08)
Roswell Rudd with Sonic Youth
Dry Bones (10:07)
Garth & Maud Hudson
No Depression In Heaven (6:51)
Geoff Muldaur
K.C. Moan (6:36)
Gavin Friday with Maurice Seezer
When The Great Ship Went Down (5:36)
2
Robin Holcomb A Lazy Farmer Boy (3:01)
Van Dyke Parks with Mondrian String Quartet
Sail Away Lady (3:01)
Geoff Muldaur
Poor Boy Blues (4:22)
Marianne Faithfull
Spike Driver Blues (2:47)
Lou Reed
See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (7:30)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle with Elvis Costello
Ommie Wise Part 1 & 2 (What Lewis Did Last…) (8:11)
Gavin Friday
Fatal Flower Garden (6:32)
Bob Neuwirth with Eliza Carthy
I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground (5:32)
David Thomas
Fishing Blues (5:49)
Mary Margaret O’Hara
He Got Better Things For You (2:10)
Mocean Worker
Harry Goes A Courtin’ (The Mowo! Live Hootenanny Throw-Down) (3:45)
Robin Holcomb & Todd Rundgren
The House Carpenter (5:14)
Don Byron, Percy Heath & Bill Frisell
This Song Of Love (7:51)
Nick Cave
Shine On Me (2:59)
David Johansen
James Alley Blues (4:28)
Petra Haden
Single Girl, Married Girl (3:55)

Hal Willner Week: VARIOUS ARTISTS Lost In The Stars: The Music Of Kurt Weill (1985) + September Songs – The Music Of Kurt Weill (1997)

Lost In The Stars - The Music Of Kurt WeillLost In The Stars: The Music Of Kurt Weill (1985)
The Weird World Of Weill

Most know the music of German composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) (and his sometime lyricist, Bertolt Brecht) only through his popular, whitewashed songs that have crossed-over from the stage… including various renditions of “Mack The Knife,” Frank Sinatra’s “September Song” or maybe The Doors’ heavily edited, “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar).” The more seasoned amongst you may be familiar with his dozens of stage works, like The Threepenny Opera, Lady In The Dark or Lost In The Stars, while it’s the hardcore who know Weill’s orchestral works, cantatas and film music. Hal Willner, along with another mind-bending array of artists, focuses mostly on Weill’s song craft for the 1985 tribute album, Lost In The Stars: The Music Of Kurt Weill. The guest list here is a blast, even if some of the stylistic representations are sometimes foreign to modern ears. Just some of the varied participants include Tom Waits, Sting, Todd Rundgren, John Zorn, Lou Reed, Van Dyke Parks, Henry Threadgill, Elliott Sharp and Carla Bley… with others, lingering in the background and away from the spotlight, including Steve Swallow, Branford Marsalis, Anton Fig, Jim Keltner, Fred Tackett, Kathy Dalton, Lester Bowie, Ellen Shipley, Richard Butler (The Psychedelic Furs), Dagmar Kraus (Slapp Happy), Charles K. Noyes, Fred Frith, Bobby Previte, The Uptown Horns… am I leaving a few dozen names out? Marianne Faithfull’s grand dame delivery is a natural fit with Weill’s unique brand of German expressionism, while John Zorn’s scattered smorgasbord approach to “The Little Lieutenant Of The Loving God” is delightfully untethered. I quite like Sting’s “Mack The Knife,” but Todd Rundgren’s contribution is a bit of a stylistic outcast… on an album of many stylistic collisions. We’ve got more of Hal Willner’s outstanding tribute work, HERE. Find Lost In The Stars at Amazon, HERE.

STEVE WEISBERG Mahagonny Songspiel (Intro) (0:48)
Accordion, Xylophone – Andrea Parkins
Banjo – Jeff Freidman
Bass – Mary Potter Newton
Drums – Jack Cook
Flute – Anders Bostron
Percussion – Ken Winokur, Mike Evans
Saxophone – Alan Chase
Saxophone – Les Arbuckle
Trombone – Lenny Peterson
Tuba – Jenny Palmer

STING and DOMINIC MULDOWNEY Ballad Of Mac The Knife (2:43)
Synthesizer – Dominic Muldowney
Bandoneon – Juan Mosalini
Banjo – Mark Peru
Piano – Kenny Kirkland
Saxophone – David Roach
Saxophone – Branford Marsalis
Saxophone – John Marle
Trumpet, Trombone – Mike Zwerin
Tuba – Kevin Morgan
Vocals – Sting

THE FOWLER BROTHERS with STANARD RIDGWAY Cannon Song (2:17)
Bass – Tom Fowler
Guitar, Banjo – Mike Miller
Piano – Ed Fowler
Saxophone, Flute – Steve Fowler
Saxophone – Albert Wing
Trombone – Bruce Fowler
Trombone – Phil Teele
Trumpet – Walt Fowler
Vocals – Stan Ridgway

MARIANNE FAITHFULL and CHRIS SPEDDING Ballad Of The Soldier’s Wife (4:21)
Guitar – Chris Spedding
Bass – Fernando Saunders
Drums – Anton Fig
Keyboards – Carter Catheart
Woodwind – Jim Cuomo
Vocals – Marianne Faithfull

VAN DYKE PARKS Johnny Johnson Medley (5:44)
Bass – Buell Neidlinger
Cello – Armen Ksajikian
Drums – Jim Keltner
Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet, English Horn – Marty Krystall
Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin – Fred Tackett
Harmonica – David McKelvy
Harp – Katie Kirkpatrick
Saxophone, Flute – Steve Fowler
Synthesizer – Randy Kerber
Trombone – Bruce Fowler
Trumpet – Walt Fowler
Vocals – Kathy Dalton

HENRY THREADGILL The Great Hall (3:38)
Bass – Cecil McBee
Drums – Thurman Barker
French Horn – Gregory Williams, Vincent Chancey
Piccolo Flute – Lloyd McNeill
Saxophone – John Stubblefield
Trumpet – Lester Bowie, Stantan Davis
Tuba – Tony Underwood

RALPH SCHUCKETT with RICHARD BUTLER Alabama Song (4:24)
Acoustic Guitar – Hugh McCracken, Jeff Layton, Joe Cato, Sid McGinnis
Bass – John Siegler
Chorus – George James, Joe Cerisano, John Leffler, Julie Eikenberg, Maria Vidal
Additional Vocals – Eric Troyer, Hal Willner, Ralph Schuckett, Rory Dodd
Drum Programming – Jimmy Bralower
Electric Guitar – Ira Siegal
Electronics, Synthesizer – John Petersen
Lead Vocals – Richard Butler
Lead Vocals – Bob Dorough
Lead Vocals – Ellen Shipley

ARMADILLO STRING QUARTET Youkali Tango (4:39)
Violin – Barry Socher
Cello – Armen Ksajikian
Viola – Raymond Tischer
Violin – Michelle Kikuchi Richards

JOHN ZORN The Little Lieutenant Of The Loving God (5:22)
Accordion – Guy Klucevsek
Clarinet, Saxophone, Celesta, Musical Saw – John Zorn
Drums, Timpani, Percussion – Bobby Previte
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Voice – Fred Frith
Harp – Carol Emanuel
Trombone – Jim Staley
Voice, Whistling, Electric Bass, Harpsichord – Luli Shioi

VAN DYKE PARKS Johnny’s Speech (1:44)
Bass – Buell Neidlinger
Cello – Armen Ksajikian
Drums – Jim Keltner
Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet, English Horn – Marty Krystall
Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin – Fred Tackett
Harmonica – David McKelvy
Harp – Katie Kirkpatrick
Saxophone, Flute – Steve Fowler
Synthesizer – Randy Kerber
Trombone – Bruce Fowler
Trumpet – Walt Fowler

LOU REED September Song (4:15)
Vocals, Guitar – Lou Reed
Bass – Fernando Saunders
Drum Programming – David Rosenberg
Drums – Eric Parker
Horns – The Uptown Horns
Keyboards – Peter Wood

CARLA BLEY with PHIL WOODS Lost In The Stars (6:10)
Bass – Steve Swallow
Drums – Victor Lewis
Flute – Chris Hunter
French Horn – John Clarke
Oboe – Paul McCandless
Piano – Larry Willis
Saxophone – Phil Woods
Trombone – Tom Malone
Trombone – Dave Taylor
Trumpet – Randy Brecker

TOM WAITS What Keeps Mankind Alive? (2:10)
Accordion – William Schimmel
Bass – Greg Cohen
Banjo – Eddie Davis
Horns – The Uptown Horns
Percussion – Michael Blair
Vocals – Tom Waits

ELLIOTT SHARP Klops Lied (Meatball Song) (0:48)
Electric Bass, Clarinet, Saxophone, Guitar, Bass – Elliott Sharp
Drums – Bobby Previte
Drums – Charles K. Noyes
Vocals – Sussan Deihim

DAGMAR KRAUSE Surabaya Johnny (4:07)
Piano – Jason Osborn
Synthesizer – Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens
Vocals – Dagmar Krause

MARK BINGHAM Hurricane Introduction (1:00)
MARK BINGHAM With JOHNNY ADAMS and AARON NEVILLE Oh Heavenly Salvation (2:34)
Guitar – Mark Bingham
Backing Vocals – Germaine Bazzle, Jacqueline Jones, Stephanie Sieberth
Bass – Elton Heron
Contrabass, Clarinet – Kidd Jordan
Drums – Johnny Vidacovich
Guitar – Steve Masakowski
Guitar – John Mooney
Saxophone – Ralph Gibson
Vocals – Aaron Neville, Johnny Adams

TODD RUNDGREN with GARY WINDO Call From The Grave/Ballad In Which Macheath Begs All Men For Forgiveness (5:21)
All Instruments, Vocals – Todd Rundgren
Saxophone – Gary Windo

CHARLIE HADEN and SHARON FREEMAN Speak Low (4:22)
Bass – Charlie Haden
Bassoon – John Steinmetz
Clarinet, Oboe – Marty Krystall
Drums – Albert “Tootie” Heath
Flute – Steve Fowler
Piano – Sharon Freeman

VAN DYKE PARKS In No Man’s Land (0:51)
Bass – Buell Neidlinger
Drums – Jim Keltner
Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet [Bass], English Horn – Marty Krystall
Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin – Fred Tackett
Harmonica – David McKelvy
Harp – Katie Kirkpatrick
Saxophone, Flute – Steve Fowler
Synthesizer – Randy Kerber
Trombone – Bruce Fowler
Trumpet – Walt Fowler
Vocals – Kathy Dalton

BONUS:
FrontSeptember Songs – The Music Of Kurt Weill (1994/1997)

Almost 10 years after the release of Lost In The Stars, Hal Willner coordinated a live concert performance (and video by director Larry Weinstein), paying further tribute to the music of Kurt Weill. Filmed in 1994, and issued on CD in 1997, Lou Reed reprises his performance from the studio project, as more names arrive for the live show, including William Burroughs, Anthony Coleman, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, The Persuasions and others. Buy a used CD (HERE) at Amazon, because the new ones are manufactured on demand.

Nick Cave with Spanish Fly Mack The Knife (4:54)
PJ Harvey
Ballad Of The Soldier’s Wife (4:26)
David Johansen, Ellen Shipley, Bob Dorough & Ralph Schuckett
Alabama Song (4:31)
Teresa Stratas
Youkali Tango (6:39)
Elvis Costello with Brodsky String Quartet
Lost In The Stars (3:57)
Lotte Lenya
Pirate Jenny (4:04)
Charlie Haden
Speak Low (5:30)
The Persuasions
Oh, Heavenly Salvation (3:37)
Betty Carter
Lonely House (7:32)
Teresa Stratas with Gerard Schwarz and The Chamber Sumphony
Surabaya Johnny (5:58)
Mary Margaret O’Hara
Fürchte Dich Nicht (4:25)
Lou Reed
September Song (7:51)
Bertolt Brecht
Mack The Knife (2:47)
William S. Burroughs with Anthony Coleman
What Keeps Mankind Alive? (2:46)

NEW YORK DOLLS A Hard Night’s Day (1973/2000)

A Hard Night’s Day(2000)
Excellent 1973 Studio Performance

There are plenty of Dolls demos, boots and rarities around. Most of them suck. This is one of the best. Recorded in March 1973, A Hard Night’s Day features the original recording band – David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, Sylvain Sylvain, Arthur Kane & Jerry Nolan, live in the studio on 21 demos – a live gig, really – filled with chatter, raw, barely bar-worthy chops and a smattering of trashy 50s rock ‘n roll, taped just prior to The Dolls’ Todd Rundgren-produced debut. Live, sans production technique, just as The Dolls were meant to be heard. Even in the studio they managed to stir up shit, as you can only imagine from the off-mic altercation Johansen referees at the beginning of “Pills.” This is the 2000 Norton Records version, but these tapes have been released under a few different titles and labels. There’s more Dolls & Dolls-related stuff in the archives, including From Paris With Love (L.U.V.) (HERE), Live At The Fillmore East-December 28 & 29, 2007 and The Return Of The New York Dolls – Live From Royal Festival Hall, 2004 (both HERE), DAVID JOHANSEN Live It Up (HERE), JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS L.A.M.F. The Lost ’77 Mixes (HERE), Hurt Me (HERE), Stations Of The Cross & I Only Wrote This Song For You: A Tribute To Johnny Thunders (both HERE). Find A Hard Night’s Day at Amazon, HERE.

Seven Day Weekend
Frankenstein
Who Are The Mystery Girls?
(There’s Gonna Be A) Showdown
Back In The USA
Looking For A Kiss
Jet Boy
It’s Too Late
Bad Detective
Lonely Planet Boy
Subway Train
Private World
Trash
Human Being
Don’t Start Me Talkin
Give Her A Great Big Kiss
Vietnamese Baby
Babylon
Bad Girl
Pills
Personality Crisis

THE DAVID JOHANSEN GROUP Live (1978/1993)

LiveLive (1978/1993)
Post-Dolls Fresh

I was a proud owner of The David Johansen Group’s original promo-only Live LP. Recorded at The Bottom Line, July 21, 1978, it was expanded 15 years later for this CD release. What’s cool about these recordings is that even while Johansen was attempting to move past his past, into greener, more commercial territory, his signature pre-punk/50s glam, bash & pop persona was still fully intact live. You can take the Doll out of the trash, but you can’t take the trash out of the Doll, or some such horseshit. The set list is Dolls-intensive, with some gloriously messy soul sides, “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Reach Out.” It doesn’t hurt that ex-mates Johnny Thunders and Syl Sylvain show up, too. This is a good one. Loud, raucous & fun. There’s more Dolls & Dolls-related stuff in the archives, including A Hard Night’s Day (outstanding 1973 studio performance, HERE), From Paris With Love (L.U.V.) (HERE), Live At The Fillmore East-December 28 & 29, 2007 and The Return Of The New York Dolls – Live From Royal Festival Hall, 2004 (both HERE), DAVID JOHANSEN Live It Up (HERE), JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS L.A.M.F. The Lost ’77 Mixes (HERE), Hurt Me (HERE), Stations Of The Cross & I Only Wrote This Song For You: A Tribute To Johnny Thunders (both HERE). Find Live at Amazon, HERE.

Cool Metro
Looking For A Kiss
Not That Much
Funky But Chic
Donna
Build Me Up Buttercup
I’m A Lover
I Found A Love
Reach Out (I’ll Be There)
The Girl Don’t Come
Frenchette
Lonely Tenement
Girls
Personality Crisis
It’s A Heartache
Personality Crisis (End Of)
Love Child
Babylon

NEW YORK DOLLS Live At The Fillmore East – December 28 & 29, 2007 (2008)

Live At The Fillmore East -December 28 & 29, 2007 (2008)
Legit Release From The Two York Dolls

An obscure official release, but a bizarre and excellent one that fans won’t want to bypass. First, this CD was originally sold only through the group’s fan club and at live gigs, and the “Fillmore East” in question is actually New York’s Irving Plaza. Why someone renamed that venue with a historic moniker is anybody’s guess, but it’s probably alright since the New York Dolls in question have been pared down by time to just David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain… so what’s in a name? But, even if you consider yourself a purist, those niggling factoids still won’t inhibit your enjoyment factor, since this lovingly sloppy live CD captures the pure essence and spirit of the New York Dolls, regardless of the auxiliary players. The disc is a short, 10-song affair with just two tunes from the reconstituted band’s 2006 return album, One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This. And it’s markedly better than their other official live album, 2004’s The Return Of The New York Dolls (below), making it the band’s best live product (unless you’re married to one of their many boots, old or new). Even odder is that you can get this CD new at Amazon for $4.50 (HERE), while used ones are as little as $2. A nice price for an act with questionable motives selling what might be considered their best work on the down low. Plenty more Dolls HERE in the archives.

Babylon (3:48)
Trash (3:33)
Jet Boy (6:49)
Personality Crisis (5:06)
Rainbow Store (3:37)
Looking For A Kiss (3:52)
Puss N’ Boots (3:05)
Dance Like A Monkey (4:46)
Pills (4:03)
Lonely Planet Boy (6:28)

BONUS…
The Return Of The New York Dolls – Live From Royal Festival Hall, 2004 (2004)
While we’re here, here’s the 2004 version of the NYDolls, with original bassist, Arthur “Killer” Kane (just prior to his passing). This was recorded after a series of reunion rehearsals for the UK’s Meltdown Festival, before the new configuration had road-tested their ancient chops. It’s an admirable representation and, along with Live At The Fillmore East, equals the original band’s two LP output of the 70s. The DVD’s @ Amazon, HERE.

Looking For A Kiss (3:38)
Puss N’ Boots (3:17)
Subway Train (5:12)
Bad Girl (4:09)
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory/Lonely Planet Boy (5:52)
Private World (4:04)
Vietnamese Baby (3:55)
Dialogue (2:25)
Frankenstein (6:42)
Babylon (4:16)
Dialogue (2:08)
Trash (3:35)
Jet Boy (7:39)
Personality Crisis (8:24)
Human Being (7:21)

VARIOUS ARTISTS In Their Own Words, Volumes One & Two (1994/1996)

In Their Own Words, Volume One (1994)
In Their Own Words, Volume Two (1996)
Eclectic Collection Of Various Artists, Playing Live, Unplugged And Telling Stories

Before VH1’s Storytellers, radio DJ Vin Scelsa hosted this similar concept, featuring a vast array of artists recorded live at The Bottom Line. Subtitled A Bunch of Songwriters Sittin’ Around Singing, the results were released on CDs in 1994 & 1996. Each artist speaks for half a minute or two before their performance, so the pace is fast, the editing is smooth and a lot of stylistic ground gets covered. 31 artists are credited, but there are plenty of others in the background. For instance, Jules Shear and Marshall Crenshaw back Don Dixon on “Fever.” Richard Thompson plays guitar for both Barrett Strong (author of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”) and the Blasters’ Dave Alvin. Al Kooper’s on organ behind William Bell and that’s Glen Burtnik supporting both Patty Smyth and Derek & The Dominos’ Bobby Whitlock. The intimate live setting makes for a surprisingly consistent listen, considering the artistic diversity. Hear some intros and songs below. Amazon has both One (HERE) and Two (HERE).

Volume One


DION – King Of The New York Streets


BARRETT STRONG – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
JOEY RAMONE – I Wanna Be Sedated (intro only)
RICHARD THOMPSON – I Feel So Good
RIC OCASEK – Just What I Needed
JANIS IAN – At Seventeen
JIMMY WEBB – Wichita Lineman
DAVE ALVIN – Andersonville
ARTHUR ALEXANDER – Anna
FRED KOLLER – Let’s Talk Dirty In Hawaiian
LUKA BLOOM – I Need Love
GRAHAM PARKER – No Woman, No Cry
SHAWN COLVIN – That’s The Way Love Goes
BOBBY WHITLOCK – Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Volume Two
GORDON GANO – Songwriter’s Song
SIR MACK RICE/FELIX CAVALIERE – Mustang Sally
BILLY BRAGG – To Have And Have Not
SUZANNE VEGA – Luka
WILLIAM BELL – Born Under A Bad Sign
PATTY SMYTH – Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

JOHN CALE – Paris 1919

DAVID JOHANSEN – Lookin’ For A Kiss
BRUCE COCKBURN – Silver Wheels
GENERAL JOHNSON – Patches
PETE SEEGER – Get Up And Go

CHRIS DIFFORD & GLENN TILBROOK – Electric Trains
MARCIA BALL – Louisiana, 1927
DON DIXON – Fever
JILL SOBULE – I Will Survive
GARY NICHOLSON – Pay Bo Diddley

DAVID JOHANSEN Live It Up (1982)

Live It Up (1982)
Prime Johansen

Fun live set from New York Doll, David Johansen. This was Johansen’s first official live album, in or out of the Dolls, not counting his 1978 promo only LP, Live – which would eventually become “official” in 1993. Like that album, this one is heavy on 60s cover material (“Build Me Up Buttercup,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” DJ’s Animals medley) mixed with some Dolls chestnuts and a few highlights from Johansen’s solo career, which included three solo studio albums by this time. The set list hadn’t changed all that much since ’78, but the non-stop road work of the previous few years paid off in a tightly honed and highly energetic set. I doubt Johansen’s vocals have ever sounded any better than during this era. Look in the archives to find the ’78 promo. Amazon.


We Gotta Get Outta This Place/Don’t Bring Me Down/It’s My Life (4:26)
Frenchette (4:55)
Reach Out I’ll Be There (3:26)
Is This What I Get For Loving You (3:15)
Donna  (4:20)
Build Me Up Buttercup (2:41)
Melody (3:05)
Funky But Chic (3:53)
Bohemian Love Pad (2:56)
Stranded In The Jungle (3:48)
Personality Crisis (5:03)