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New Disc Simulates "A Date with John Waters" PDF Print E-mail
Music - Music News
Written by John M. James   
Wednesday, 07 February 2007 02:24

Just in time for Valentine's Day, filmmaker John Waters follows up his wonderfully weird Christmas-music collection from 2004 with a new CD for lovers, featuring 14 personally selected "come hither" wolf-whistles from his own twisted-kitsch record collection. New Line Records invites you on A Date with John Waters this week, a wild ride of oddball nuggets that kicks off with "Tonight You Belong to Me," a 45-RPM ditty from 1956 by 11- and 14-year-old sisters Patience & Prudence - the first record the five-finger-discounting Waters admits he ever shoplifted. Alongside tracks from Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Jet Boy Jet Girl, Dean Martin, Mildred Bailey, and Ike & Tina Turner, a few of Waters' cohorts in shock cinema made the cut, with Edith "Egg Lady" Massey's "Big Girls Don't Cry" and Mink Stole's cover of "Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun."


One of the hippest record labels to emerge from London in the bustling punk/new-wave explosion in 1976 was the Stiff Records imprint. Like Sub Pop's signature "Loser" T-shirt 20 years later, Stiff's tongue-in-cheek whimsy was emblazoned on the chests of a thousand arty music geeks, proclaiming "If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a F---" and the freak-flag-flying "Try Anything But Incest and Folk Dancing." Although the label launched the careers of Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and The Damned, it's often the lost artists of this once-mighty stable that bring me the greatest joy. Next week, five of these lost acts return in remastered CD reissues, each expanded with bonus B sides, live tracks, or alternative versions. Long before The Donnas, Britney Spears, and other doe-eyed Lolitas pouted suggestively from the convenience-store parking lot, Akron, Ohio's Rachel Sweet was one hot drop of sugar with the pipes of hickory-smoked Janis Joplin and a roadhouse Pasty Cline. She was 15 years old in 1978 when she recorded Fool Around, and that debut album showcased her undeniable talent in memorable tracks such as "B-A-B-Y," "Wildwood Saloon," "Pin a Medal on Mary," and a killer cover of Costello's "Stranger in the House." Comedienne Tracey Ullman got caught up in the Stiff nuttiness of 1983, releasing the 1960s-girl-group, kitschy-cool You Broke My Heart in 17 Places, featuring the song "My Guy" (a feminine twist on the Madness hit "My Girl"), and covers of songs by Kirsty MacColl, Jackie DeShannon, Doris Day, and Blondie. Also due are double-CD sets from Staten Island's dapper power-punk-pop trio Dirty Looks, featuring the group's self-titled and Turn It Up albums from 1980 and 1981 and bonus live tracks from the Son of Stiff tour, and Wreckless Eric's Big Smash from 1980. Also from 1980 comes the debut album from Any Trouble, Where Are All the Nice Girls?, a punchy, witty nerd-pop delight led by the bespectacled Clive Gregson that features a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Growing Up."


Another four-star new-wave missing link from a shocking punk diva is due Tuesday, as Nina Hagen's disco album from 1983 will be available on CD for the first time. Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey, Fearless was the English-language version of her German-language Angstlos release of that same year, burning up the dance floor with the operatic "New York New York" and the DJ hit "Zarah." The Koch Records reissue doesn't offer any bonus tracks, but one funky guest appearance makes me smile, catching the youthful Red Hot Chili Peppers making it pop on "What It Is."


Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosts Norah Jones tonight and The Fray on Monday; The Late Show with David Letterman welcomes John Mellencamp this evening and Rickie Lee Jones on Monday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien presents Hinder on Monday overnight and Lily Allen on Tuesday overnight; Last Call with Carson Daly teaches all about The Bird & the Bee on Friday overnight; Jimmy Kimmel Live boasts Katharine McPhee this evening overnight, Fall Out Boy on Thursday overnight, and Matisyahu on Monday overnight; and Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is Keith Urban.


New Releases Coming Tuesday, February 13:

... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change.

Aerogramme - My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go (Sonic Unyon) third album from this smart, sophisticated, warming Glasgow, Scotland, quartet

The Agency - Turn (Perch) new from Dashboard Confessional drummer Mike Marsh, with guest Rob Helmsorig of Pivot

Tim Buckley - Happy Sad and Lorca (4 Men with Beards) 180-gram audiophile vinyl-LP reissues

Cable - Last Call (Translation Loss) featuring a bonus documentary DVD with guest Steve Austin of Today Is the Day

The Dark Romantics - Some Midnight Kissin' (Lupo Records) cool new family affair from Eric Collins of Denison Marrs and Dean Paul of the John Ralston Band, alongside their wives, who are also sisters

Spencer Durham - Much More Than Words (Cavender Castle) second CD from this 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist, backed by members of Randall Bramblett's band

Elliott Brood - Ambassador (Six Shooter) nominated for Canada's Juno Award and on tour now with the Tennessee Three, this mental-movie, spooky-cool roots/Americana creeper feels like a storm brewing in big-sky country, and comes packaged in a tasteful faux-wood-grained digipak with a 1929 train ticket and documentation tucked inside

Forward Russia - "Don't Be a Doctor" (Dance to the Radio) limited-edition import-only etched 10-inch vinyl single

Richard Lloyd - Field of Fire (Reaction) two-CD expanded reissue of this 1987 album from the former Television guitarist

Mick Overman & The Maniacs - Good Thing Happen (Max Records) sweet, soulful originals and a cover of Katy Moffatt's "Take Me Back to Texas" from this Bay Area troubadour

Papercuts - Can't Go Back (Gnomonsong) psychedelic folk debut from this eight-piece collaborative, available now on CD after its previous vinyl-only homegrown issue on Feathers Family

Paul & Prince - Sounds Like Sex 2: After Midnight Music (RedCola) chilled, down-tempo bedroom grooves featuring vocalist Toddy Ivy and Angela McCluskey

Big Pete Pearson - I'm Here Baby (Blue Witch) backed by the Rhythm Room All-Stars, the boss blues shouter from Arizona features guests Ike Turner, W.C. Clark, and Joey Defrancesco

The Soul of John Black - The Good Girl Blues (Cadabra) seductive, spooky, grinding blues from John "JB" Bigham of Fishbone

Storyhill - Storyhill (Red House) produced by Dan Wilson of Semisonic, this is the 12th album of the duo's gorgeous harmonies and soaring acoustic guitars

Uncle Earl - Waterloo, Tennesse (Rounder) featuring a cover of Bob Dylan's "Wallflower" and guests Gillian Welch, Tara Nevins of Donna the Buffalo, and producer John Paul Jones

The Vocokesh - All This & Hieronymus Bosch (Strange Attractors Audio House) tinged with droning sitar, this is shadow-trip, free-acid instrumental fuzz for blindly stumbling down hallways in search of open doors

Lucinda Williams - West (Lost Highway) also available on vinyl LP

various artists - Imagine the Shapes (What's Your Rupture) CD collection of seven-inch vinyl-only EPs from the label, featuring Comet Gain, caUSE co-MOTION!, Love Is All, and The Long Blondes

various artists - Ricky Jay Plays Poker (Sony Legacy) "deluxe edition" box set of the recent CD/DVD set, housed in a book-styled case with a pack of playing cards, a beautiful 66-page booklet of vintage poker memorabilia, and complete liner notes on the musical selections by Bob Dylan, Memphis Minnie, Bert Williams, and 18 more "dealer's choice" delights

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