Two More Rediscovered Gems

| March 28, 2020

Being on the road can be a pain, especially during the “great 2020 Covid-19 stoopid-fest”. As I said in an earlier article, I’m certainly glad to be home.

Yet being on the road, even during such times, does have a few good points. One of those is the chance to listen to music you missed the first time around – with the perspective of additional age and experience.

Here are two cuts I missed when they first came out. They were always great tunes; I just didn’t realize that until recently.

Yeah, this is another musical “walkabout”. Continue at your own risk. (smile)

. . .

David Bowie was a true original. And his breakthrough album – Ziggy Stardust – was critically acclaimed. It’s today widely regarded as a popular music classic.

However, like every other artist Bowie had to continue with his recording career; this meant putting out other albums. His next original album was eagerly expected – and like every other artist, I’m sure he knew he’d have a hard time topping his previous effort.

Bowie’s follow-up album to Ziggy Stardust was titled Aladdin Sane. The title is a deliberate play on words. It references an unfortunate fact in Bowie’s immediate family: mental instability was prevalent in his mother’s side of the family. That, however, won’t be discussed today (though it might be the topic for a future article).

I’d passed on getting a copy of Aladdin Sane when it was first released. And in truth, though it was initially more commercially successful and charted higher in the US than did Ziggy Stardust, IMO it’s nowhere near as good. (That’s understandable; few albums are as good as Ziggy Stardust.) It’s not as focused, thematically, and though it has its moments it’s simply not as good as its predecessor.

Because I’d passed on the the album, I’d missed a true gem of a tune – one that was never released as a single (though it was used on a single released in Italy as a the B-side for another tune from the album). For years it was also omitted from Bowie’s “best of” compilations. It’s a tune where Bowie rocks out in Rolling Stones style, and shows he can hang with anyone in rock ‘n roll.

Bowie himself described the Aladdin Sane album as “Ziggy Stardust comes to America”. This tune perfectly describes that – as well as the raucous early 1970s.

Without further ado: Watch That Man.

 

 

. . .

The second tune here has a similar history, at least for me. U2 is a favorite of mine, and their two great albums of the late 1980s/early 1990s – 1987’s The Joshua Tree and 1991’s Achtung Baby – though stylistically different are absolutely excellent. But after that, for a while U2 decided to explore dance and pop.

I’m not that big of a fan of dance/pop music. So I decided to pass on U2’s next album, 1993’s Zooropa.

Some time ago, I acquired a digital copy of Zooropa. But until this trip, I’d never listened to it.

I gave it a quick listen while traveling. The first nine songs were IMO, well, “meh” – OK, but not great. So that confirmed for me that it was an album worth passing on.

Then I listened to the album’s final track. I was amazed – by something I never saw coming.

First: it’s a collaboration between U2 . . . and the late Johnny Cash. It’s one of the few U2 songs where Bono doesn’t sing lead; Cash does.

And second: IMO it’s magnificent.

One note before the tune. There’s a rather extended period of silence at the end of the tune, followed by a rather jarring alarm. I’ve read that that was included as a joke, and that the alarm is a radio station “dead air” alarm used to alert DJs to dead air. When I first listened to the tune, I thought it might be some type of hospital code alarm. I’ve never heard either personally, except possibly on TV, so I can’t say for sure which it is.

I just wanted to mention that so that any readers listening to the tune wouldn’t be taken by surprise. For some people alarms – particularly when unexpected – can occasionally bring back bad memories.

 

 

A final note: Cash did a number of collaborations with younger popular artists over the decades, including some rock and roll artists. Some of those collaborations include videos; there’s a third-party video for “The Wanderer” that’s IMO quite good.

However, this may not the best cover or video Cash ever did when he covered a much more recent tune. If you’ve never heard/seen it, his cover of the Nine Inch Nails’ tune “Hurt” – and the video that was made for same – can be found here. It’s truly exceptional, and is worth the time; that’s particularly true if you know some of Cash’s history. But you might want to have a tissue handy.

. . .

Well, that’s all for now. It’s good to be back home, even if the world still seems “stuck on stupid”.

Category: Pointless blather, Who knows

Comments (28)

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  1. AW1Ed says:

    Tom Petty also was a Johnny Cash fan, and was inspired by his music. So it was pretty much inevitable they would collaborate on an album together.

    The album, “Unchained” received a Grammy for Best Country Album, and Cash was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of “Rusty Cage”.

    My personal favorite?

    Thanks, Hondo.

    • Hondo says:

      Petty wasn’t the only notable artist who collaborated with Cash on Unchained (AKA America II: Unchained). Along with Petty, the Heartbreakers also backed him on most tracks; Marty Stuart played guitar on about half the tracks; and Flea, Mick Fleetwood, and Lindsay Buckingham each appear on one track.

      Wanna guess the track Buckingham and Fleetwood appear on? (smile)

      Cash only composed two of the tunes on that album. The others were covers.

      • AW1Ed says:

        Don’t need to guess, Hondo. Thought I mentioned, MrsAW1 is a Gainesville gal and a big Tom Petty fan.
        *grin*

  2. Hondo says:

    A postscript to the article above: if you’ve ever wondered what “The Wanderer” might have sounded like had U2 recorded it without Cash singing lead, here’s a live version. Apparently the band has only very rarely performed the tune live.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO8DtcW6yAc

    And apparently all Cash asked for in return for singing lead on “The Wanderer” was permission to cover the band’s tune “One”. One source I’ve read quoted one of the other band members – Edge, I think – as saying that it was one of the few times they’d ever seen Bono speechless.

  3. Sapper3307 says:

    Hail, the Goblin King!

  4. 5th/77th FA says:

    “…the raucous early 1970s.” I helped make them that. You’re welcome! Much much respect and love for the “Man in Black.” Bono, his music is ok but didn’t follow them due to his politics. Off and on with Bowie.

    When asked if anyone in the family suffered from mental instability, I replied, “No they seem to enjoy it.”

    • Hondo says:

      Bono, his music is ok but didn’t follow them due to his politics.

      If I used that criteria, 5/77, I’d listen to precious little music. There are damn few conservative artists in the popular music business.

      There are also precious few “decent folk” in the popular music business. By all accounts, the members of U2 are among that precious few – even if they are misguided on some issues.

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Roger that Hondo…Damn shame too. Prolly why I stick to the old classic rock and the real country of the 50s, 60s, & 70s. I’ll listen to them, but can’t tell you when the last time was I actually spent money on any. My nephew put an azz load of classic stuff on a memory stick a few years back when I bought Little Josey The Nismo. Think it was just before DS fired off, Bono had said something disparaging about our troops. My (step) Son was in the 24th over there then. It pissed me off and I never looked back. Can’t even remember what it was now that he said.

        • Steve 1371 says:

          5/77,
          Check out Orange Blossom Opry face book page for some great music. They are putting on shows just to keep in practice and keep the Opry up front in everyones mind. The house band is as talented as any of the overpriced acts out there today. You can catch a recorded past performance there.

          • 5th/77th FA says:

            Tanks Bro. I can lurk on Fake Book thru Baby Sister’s page. Just spent some time jamming with the boys and girls there. Had done a “Like” on the regular Opry page and she has one on the We Despise Pop Country page. I’ve got a real good high quality set of headphones with Sony’s name on them. My main IT man (another (step) son) set this machine up with the whole you tube ‘scrip thing so I can rock and country out over there too. Orange Blossom had a good show tonight, but the sad news of the loss of Jan Howard. Hadn’t heard of that, seems like the only news out there is that of Trump causing the Chinese Communist Government’s developed viral disease spread through out the world. Might not want to tell the seagull about the OBO, he’ll be on here squawking “Orange Blossom Opry Bad”…click

            • Steve 1371 says:

              Copy all that, I listen on my wife’s page. There will be a show Monday nite and Thursday and Friday.

  5. Kevin H says:

    All I see when someone mentions David Bowie;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKLTP04JGc8

    *sigh* Name edited to protect PII.
    AW1

  6. Thanks for the link to Johnny Cash’s “HURT”. That is really something special, as well as emotional.

    Been there and done that life. Thanks again!

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      You and me both, Brother. Got a few of those t-shirts.

      Thank the Good Lord for Repentance.

  7. Thanks for the link to Johnny Cash’s “HURT”. That is really something special, as well as emotional.

    Been there and done that life. Thanks again!

    His last live performance can be seen here:

    • Hondo says:

      You’re welcome. Cash’s “Hurt” cover and video is truly exceptional – and hits hard. I was floored (figuratively speaking) the first time I heard and saw it, so I figured others might like it too.

      • David says:

        Amen on “Hurt” – the older I get, the harder it is to listen to.

        About the mid’70s he did some really great stuff which did not sell well, but which he had written – well worth checking out. “Ragged Old Flag” is a great example.

  8. Bill R. says:

    Aladdin Sane? Being from metro Detroit, I believe this is the best song on that album.

  9. Roh-Dog says:

    Forgive the digression, do please allow:
    Sunday was meant for the Blues. Dan Ackroyd used to have a syndicated Blues show on the local FM played here on Sunday nights. Many of time, before in ter nets and 1,000 cable channels, this broke 20something sat down with a bottle of cheap whiskey and enjoyed the journey, usually at the end of a stream of Lucky Strikes.
    Thanks to people such as yourselves and Mr. Ackroyd showing this poor soul what real music be.
    I leave you with a taste
    https://youtu.be/82yNxiF-T4A

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Did he say Blues? How about some from Statesboro? Rare cut with Duane and Berry. RIP Boys!

  10. Skippy says:

    The them song for pandemic Mania
    BHWHAHAHAHAHA !!!!

    Name the group

    Can you feel that?
    Ah, shit
    Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah
    Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah
    oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
    Drowning deep in my sea of loathing
    Broken your servant I kneel
    (Will you give in to me?)
    It seems what’s left of my human side
    Is slowly changing in me
    (Will you give in to me?)
    Looking at my own reflection
    When suddenly it changes
    Violently it changes (oh no)
    There is no turning back now
    You’ve woken up the demon in me
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Open up your hate, and let it flow into me
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    You mother get up come on get down with the sickness
    You fucker get up come on get down with the sickness
    Madness is the gift, that has been given to me
    I can see inside you, the sickness is rising
    Don’t try to deny what you feel
    (Will you give in to me?)
    It seems that all that was good has died
    And is decaying in me
    (Will you give in to me?)
    It seems you’re having some trouble
    In dealing with these changes
    Living with these changes (oh no)
    The world is a scary place
    Now that you’ve woken up the demon in me
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Open up your hate, and let it flow into me
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    You mother get up come on get down with the sickness
    You fucker get up come on get down with the sickness
    Madness is the gift, that has been given to me
    No mommy, don’t do it again
    Don’t do it again
    I’ll be a good boy
    I’ll be a good boy, I promise
    No mommy don’t hit me
    Why did you have to hit me like that, mommy?
    Don’t do it, you’re hurting me
    Why did you have to be such a bitch
    Why don’t you
    Why don’t you just fuck off and die
    Why can’t you just fuck off and die
    Why can’t you just leave here and die
    Never stick your hand in my face again bitch
    Fuck you
    I don’t need this shit
    You stupid sadistic abusive fucking whore
    How would you like to see how it feels mommy
    Here it comes, get ready to die
    Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    Open up your hate, and let it flow into me
    Get up, come on get down with the sickness
    You mother get up come on get down with the sickness
    You fucker get up come on get down with the sickness
    Madness has now come over me

  11. OldSoldier54 says:

    Ahh … Johnny Cash is Johnny Cash.