Takin' Care Of Business
Can-rock icons the Guess Who were actually thinking about calling it quits in 1967 when, fortuitously, the CBC rang them up with an offer to be the house band on the network's Let's Go music variety show. They went on to make 65 appearances on the program, playing the hits of the day by the Beatles, the Supremes, the Doors , the Zombies, the Association and others along with their own impressive original tunes. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the 18-track Let's Go (Maximum Music) compilation is that because the Guess Who used the show to try out new material, the versions here were done prior to the familiar studio versions. So you get to hear the first recorded takes of These Eyes, No Time, Mr. Nothin and loads of others. Right on.
As anyone familiar with Nick Cave's career will know, there's a load of amazing material to be discovered hidden on the backs of singles. So the three-disc B-Sides & Rarities (Mute) package is not at all a collection of throwaways, but, rather, the daring experiments, acoustic rethinks, nutty demos, foolhardy soundtrack pitches and crazy live throwdowns that turn casual listeners into lifelong Bad Seeds fans. In addition to the previously issued B-sides, there's a wealth of fabulous lesser-known material, like the bloody great three-part live epic O'Malley's Bar, tribute tunes toasting their favourite Canucks Neil Young and Leonard Cohen and the first crack at Where The Wild Roses Grow, with the Kylie Minogue part hilariously sung by Blixa Bargeld. You need it.
Sample scroungers with fat wallets have changed the game of dealing disco singles such that when you now see a ridiculously high price tag on an obscure 12-inch that never saw club action during the late 70s, it's often just because of an open break. So it was a pleasant surprise that the $500-plus Foster Jackson Group joint Feel The Spirit - originally released on the tiny Queen Constance -distributed Lonnie Records label - has more going for it than a cool breakdown to recycle. It's a well written and aggressively performed club track that will definitely rock a party. Thankfully, there's a $12 reissue circulating with both the disco version (4:10) and the "long disco version" (6:10).
Do the Zombie Stomp!
For a brief period in the early to mid-60s, before Motown became "the sound of young America" and the Brits invaded, the music world was busy with new dance crazes, and for every Twist, Swim or Mashed Potatoes there were hundreds of lesser-known floor-filling bids that have mostly been forgotten. The rip-roarin' Jump And Shout! (J&S) collection compiles some of the best misses, like Joe Johnson's Rattlesnake, Baby, Rattlesnake, Danny Ware's Zombie Stomp, Eddie Kirk's The Grunt, Skip Manning's Ham & Eggs and Ty Tyrell's The Scratch along with clever variations on a theme like Carrie Grant's Mish Mash and O. V. Wright's Monkey Dog.