Sorry, We're Closed

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just One Song, Part 3

Hi, again, everyone. Happy New Government!

The theme for this edition of "Just One Song" is slightly different. My great friend Frank Kras suggested that each of us choose a song that we love that nobody else seems to have heard.

To start off, I'll post his song, which I'd never heard OF, much less heard. "Scottish Rite Temple Stomp" is by a band called Ninian Hawick. I'll let him provide the rest of the background on a later post. Here's the song, which is a real cracker!

I kicked around several ideas for my song that I love which nobody else seems to have heard. The one I chose is a bit of a cheat, because someone else I know has heard it.

The Things were a three-piece mid-1980s band from California who took their inspiration from sounds 20 years before. Their first waxing, Coloured Heaven, is stuffed full of gems, one of which--"All the Time"--is my choice.

I could have just as easily picked three or four other terrific tunes from this utterly forgotten album, which came out on the Voxx label in 1984 and has never been issued on CD. I've never even seen a copy of the record.

So how did I hear it? An old friend, Tony P., hipped me to it in the 1980s, taping the album for me on a Maxell II cassette. But since Tony and I have unfortunately lost touch, it almost counts as nobody having heard it. Thanks, Tony. Wish I knew where you are.

Please turn this up, as the file I uploaded is very weak.

Hope you enjoyed at least one of these songs, and hopefully both. What are your picks? If you can't post them in a comment, you could email them to me and I could post 'em for you.



Blogger YourFriendFrank said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:24 PM, January 22, 2009

Blogger YourFriendFrank said...

Thanks for the shoutout and the post, Stu. More people probably read your blog than any of my recent freelance articles. Glad you enjoyed.

From what I can cobble together, Ninian Hawick (prounouced "Hoyk") was a one-off Minneapolis band that put an album out in 1998. I haven't heard anything else from them, but an Amazon review referred to the record as "a classic and a lot of filler."

Any dance tune that can incorporate bagpipes or a banjo (like Beck's "Sexx Laws") is a friend of mine.

Not sure where I heard "Scottish Rite Temple Stomp" first, but if anyone wants to download it for free, it can be found at

Cheers. Looking forward to hearing some more good tunes.

9:06 PM, January 22, 2009

Blogger Bob Purse said...

Wow - that's a really hard question to answer for me. My record collection is full of records I love, which no one else knows about.

Except that you (and a few other friends) know about some of them, so that defeats the premise.

But I'll pick the most recent one that's caught my ear, which you have indeed heard: Milly's Cafe by Fred J. Eaglesmith.

I don't anything about the guy, except that his album is full of well drawn character sketches, including one or two other songs that I really like, and that he's canadian.

He has a world-weary voice, and an acoustic band that fits him perfectly.

But "Milly's Cafe" is the best song that I've heard in well over a year, from any album released this decade.

10:39 AM, January 23, 2009

Blogger Bob Purse said...

After making that post, I found this live performance of the song. This is damn good, and although it doesn't reach the power or the quality of the studio version, it does have a crackling energy not really present on the studio version. Unfortunately, I think it's probably a little hard to make out the words, if you don't already know them:

12:15 PM, January 23, 2009

Anonymous Alex said...

That's a tough one... but I've been listening a lot to O-Positive's "With You" (from the "Only Breathing" EP). This snuck onto the hip local radio station in Boston for about ten minutes in the mid-80s. Another band that probably should've been huge but somehow never were.

12:42 PM, January 23, 2009

Anonymous Annie D said...

funny, I came to post about the song "Next" by another band that was "big in Boston" in the 80's -- Three Colors. They played on at least one bill with O-Positive, I'm sure, so that could eliminate my choice!

4:29 PM, January 23, 2009

Anonymous Jonathan said...

I know I'll remember more after this, but off the top of my head my favorite "really obscure" songs are 1) Chris Lee's "The Sexual Politics of Me" (this odd hybrid of low fi indie rock (Sonic Youth's drummer was producer) and blue eyed soul, written and performed by a lover of highbrow literature and somehow it works), 2) Cheeky Monkey's "Monkey Man" (lyrics this clever should not be lost to history), 3) "Holiday" by The Nines and though it shouldn't count because it was a hit in Canada, Toulouse's "It Always Happens This Way" which is a great disco song.

(Sigh) I know I'm going to remember more as soon as I hit the post button.

3:26 AM, January 24, 2009

Blogger larryepke said...

In this era of sharity blogs and internet downloads, More Obscure than Thou collectors (and with the Golden Age of Reissues just passed), it’s hard to pick a song “nobody else seems to have heard.” I spent years chasing “Open Up Your Door” by Richard and the Young Lions, and then the song was included on the Nuggets box. I happened upon “Mourning Star” by Zones in the 1980s and that was included on some Rhino reissues as well. The flip side of that was “Big Bird” by Eddie Floyd (I think) from the “Beg, Scream and Shout” box – I never heard it before I bought that set and I think it’s one of the best thing on that terrific box.

I could cite the silly 60s pop novelty “Aunt Matilda’s Double Yummy Blow Your Mind Out Brownies” by The Two Dollar Question, the 80s power pop “Three Chord City” by The Cold (which comes with a story and a trivium), English punk “Thinking of the USA” by Eater or Patrik Fitzgerald’s folk-punk “Safety Pin Stuck in my Heart.” Back when nearly every suburb had one or more records stores, I sometimes took the chance of buying singles that were filed in the “local artists” bin. I've got one striking bit of Throbbing Gristle-like industrial noise from rural Michigan and a very fine EP from The Protozoas who were based in Posen, one of our South Suburbs.

But I'm going to go with “The Death of John F. Kennedy” by the Southern Gospel Band. I got this scratchy 45 at a show several years ago, and it’s one of the most heart-rending pieces I know. (I’d presumed it was a blues number and was surprised to find it was by a white county group.) Bluegrass is full of tearjerker “my dear departed mother” songs, but this transcends form and really gets the feeling of great sadness across. A real goodie no one else knows.

And someday I’ll set you down with my 45 of “Hummingbird” by Seals and Crofts and try to convince you of its greatness!

6:39 AM, January 28, 2009

Blogger Amy D said...

Well if I were being a smartass, I would pick something from Mayday or The Shindigs (los shindigos), as my old pals did create some really tasty tunes that I certainly thought should have been hits.
Anyway, I have 2. I KNOW you've heard one at least one, and possibly both of these.

1. "Pretty Ballerina" from the Left Banke. This song is so intimate, so delicate that it's gave me chills the first time I heard it.

2. "Another Time" from the one-off album called Present Tense from studio musician project called "Sagittarius".
I LOVE this album in all it's hippie dippy Beach Boys-esque glory, and this song (written by Curt Boettcher) is a perfect bittersweet "goodbye" piece.

Both pieces have this wonderful sweet melancholy about them, with lush string arrangements and vocal production.

(if you have an MP3 of either of these feel free to post, or I'll email them to you later)

11:18 AM, January 29, 2009

Blogger Tom G. said...

I didn't think I could come up with a tune that both Stu Shea AND Bob Purse had never heard, but I think I've got one. How about "The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3" by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra? It's from the album "Jazz On Film."

It's kinda like "James Bond Theme" meets "Mission Impossible" meets 70's funk-noir.

Or something like that. :)

10:07 PM, January 29, 2009

Blogger Derek See said...

While they also released a good album, late-90's Bloomington, IN band the Velmas released this 45 called "Annie Anagram" that was like a beacon cutting through the indie rock fog of boredom. Channeling Big Star and Elvis Costello yet sounding completely original, this is one of those rare indie 45's that really should have been a hit. Alas...

8:43 AM, January 30, 2009

Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Thanks to everyone who's chiming in! I think I'll do a post soon and put up some of these excellent songs.

9:40 AM, January 30, 2009

Anonymous npf13 said...

I liked "All the Time" it reminded me of the band The Three O'Clock and their album Baroque Hoedown from 1982/83.

I'd have to really work hard to find something which nobody else has heard, but I can try...

2:57 PM, January 31, 2009

Blogger Todd Lucas said...

I was trying to think of something suitable for this. My blog deals mostly with 1950's and 60's era music but how about something from the 90's, namely "One Kiss Left" by The Goops. Maybe you already know it. If not, check it out.

2:31 PM, February 04, 2009


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