Monthly Archives: February 2011

Top 100 sixties (Again…)

Trilogy’s End

Blimey! These ‘top 100’ things get harder as you go along. I don’t think I’ll bother the 60s again for a while now. To be fair, about 70-80 of the tunes on here have been favourites of mine for a while now. The other 20 or so I had to research. Not unpleasant work, but I kept finding better and better stuff (and unearthing old faves I’d forgotten about) as I went. Choosing what to leave out was stressful and I don’t think I made as good a choice as I might have in optimum circumstances (i.e. with my vinyl collection in front of me and out of storage). Anyway, enjoy it, dudes.

60s TV. Often half as good as the music

 

1. The Sonics – Cinderella

 Great high-energy rock-n-roll by the best band ever from Washington state. OK, so they rhyme ‘I want to be her fella’ with ‘Cinderella’, but I see that as charming rather than deliberately dumb.

 2. Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go

 Fresh out of jail for marrying a 14 year-old girl, Chuck Berry relaunched his career in the early 60s. He’d lost none of his edge, his songs will outlive the solar system, he’s still touring after all these years.

 3. The Electric Prunes – Ain’t It Hard?

 A song that expresses the frustration of wanting to get absolutely blotto when all your friends want to do is stay sober and do civilised things like listen to experimental Jazz and talk about poetry. As far as I know, it is a largely unexplored area of human psychology. Good on the ‘prunes for spotting it.

 4. Janis Ian – Society’s Child

 What a star! A 16 year-old girl writing amazing songs and singing like she does. And a song with a point too. It’s good to see talent flourish like this.

 5. The Marvelettes – Too Many Fish In The Sea

 Motown, Motown, Motown, Motown. Four of the reasons why this song is so great.

6. Bunker Hill – The Girl Can’t Dance

 Little Richard turned up to 11 with speed for hemoglobin. Named after a horrible district of LA, the city of angels, where said divine beings carry pepper spray and wear stab vests.

 7. Pink Floyd – See Emily Play

 Sid Barrett’s ‘Floyd were amazing. Here we have one of their signature tracks. Love it to bits.

 8. Love – My Little Red Book

 A Burt Bacharach classic rendered cool and menacing by Arthur Lee’s Love. Listen to that base, that angry/psycho edge to the lyrics…

 9. The Byrds – Wasn’t Born To Follow

 Very Californian this top 10 isn’t it? Oh, well. What can you do? The Byrds were just such a great band and any of their tracks would do me. That this one features on Easy Rider and talks about cascading jeweled waters reflecting err.. something or other gives it enough depth and transcendent meaning for my tiny mind.

 10. The Troyes – I Don’t Need You

 A sweaty, hoary old dance number worthy of Bo Diddley or The Pretty Things. Pure quality from a band I’d never heard of (and which 99% of the world’s population haven’t either). Hope they never turn it into the soundtrack for a car ad.

11. Millie Small – My Boy Lollipop

12. Los Vidrios Quebrados – En Tu Mirada

13. The Gems – I’ll Be There

14. The Nashville Teens – Google Eyes

15. Paul Revere & The Raiders – Just Like Me

16. The Artwoods – Can You Hear Me

17. Blue Cheer – Peace of Mind

18. Sylvie Vartan – La Plus Belle Pour Aller Danser

19. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

20. Violeta Parra – Hace Falta Un Guerrillero

21. H.P. Lovecraft – That’s The Bag I’m In

22. Zen – Please Accept My Invitation

23. The Monkees – I’m A Believer

24. The Crossfires – One Potato, Two Potato

25. The Flies – Gently As You Feel

26. The Squires – Going All The Way

27. Can – The Thief

28. The Misunderstood – Children Of The Sun

29. Creedence Clearwater Revival – 99 ½

30. The Painted Ship – Frustration

31. The Vejetables – Good Things Are Happening

32. The Orchids – Gonna Make Him Mine

33. The Standells – Mr Nobody

34. Sheb Wooley – That’s My Pa

35. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Tracks Of My Tears

36. The Sorrows – Take A Heart

37. The Action – Hey Sha Lo Ney

38. The Velvet Underground – Foggy Notion

39. Zachary Thacks – Bad Girl

40. Martha & The Vandellas – Jimmy Mack

41. The Hombres – Let It All Hang Out

42. The Who – Pinball Wizard

43. Donovan – Catch The Wind

44. The Lemon Drops – I Live In The Springtime

45. The Equals – I Won’t Be There

46. Shandells Inc. – Just Cry

47. Joni Mitchell – The Song About The Midway

48. Bob Dylan – Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat

49. The Kinks – All Day And All Of The Night

50. The Remaining Few – Painted Air

51. The Driving Stupid – Horror Asparagus Stories

52. Peter & Gordon – 500 Miles

53. The Moontrekkers – Night Of The Vampire

54. It’s All Meat – Feel It

55. The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Hunting Tigers (Out In Indiah)

56. The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black

57. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Little Demon

58. The Beatles – Lovely Rita Meter Maid

59. The Animated Egg – Sock It My Way

60. The Buckinghams – Kind Of A Drag

61. The Shadows – Apache

62. The Tremeloes – Even The Bad Times Are Good

63. The Cavemen – It’s Trash

64. Jean Pierre Mirouze – Sexopolis

65. Ultimate Spinach – Visions Of Your Reality

'The Spinach'. From Boston, apparently.

66. The Third Ear Band – Stone Circle

67. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower

68. Status Quo – Ice In The Sun

69. The Hands Of Time – I Like The Way You Freakout

70. The Troggs – I Can’t Control Myself

71. Ola Und The Janglers – No No No

72. Francoise Hardy – Tous Les Garcons Et Les Filles

73. Sandie Shaw – Tell The Boys

74. The Small Faces – You Better Believe It

75. Herman’s Hermits – I’m Into Something Good

76. The Zombies – Hung Up On A Dream

77. The Pretty Things – Rosalyn

78. The Dave Clark Five – Do You Love Me?

79. The Yardbirds – Train Kept A Rollin’

80. Wimple Winch – Atmosphere

81. Os Mutantes – Bat Macumba

82. Buffy Sainte-Marie – Universal Soldier

83. Ill Wind – Dark World

84. Spooky Tooth – Tobacco Road

85. Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

86. 13th Floor Elevators – Tried To Hide

90. Ronnie Dio & The Prophets – Love Potion No. 9

91. The Outcasts – 1532 Blair

92. Them – All For Myself

93. Joan Baez – El Preso Numero Nueve

94. Traffic – Hole In My Shoe

95. The Creation – Painter Man

96. The Cats’ Meow – Home Of Kicks

97. Lefty Frizzell – Saginaw, Michigan

98. The Smoke – Sydney Gill

99. France Gall – Laisse Tomber Les Filles

100. Stix & Stones – You’re Bad News

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Comic Book Classics 15

  El Cuarto Reich by José Palomo

 

José Palomo Fuentes (1943 – ) wrote his satirical comic-strip El Cuarto Reich (The Fourth Reich) in exile. A successful cartoonist in his native Chile, he was forced to leave his homeland after the 1973 coup that brought Augusto Pinochet’s junta to power. He was right to flee. Cartoonists had become politicised by the Chilean experience in a way that was hardly comparable elsewhere. Sure, the US had the underground commix trying to exercise their constitutional right to say the word ‘fuck’ and show some genitals in their comics, but in Chile they were caught in a propaganda war. A war that turned brutal after the generals took over.

 

Jose Palomo, co-founder of the humour magazine La Chiva (The Nanny Goat) left for Mexico where he still lives. There he used his art to take revenge on Pinochet and his regime (and the wider problems of Latin American poverty, underdevelopment, dictatorship and US imperialism). El Cuarto Reich is his savage, bitter riposte to the forces of reaction. It is set in an imaginary (archetypal?) Latin American republic and includes all social classes. At the top, there is the dwarf-like dictator (a thinly disguised Pinochet) and his functionaries. The press corps (there to field easy questions) are part of a controlled and pliant media. There are soldiers, secret policemen, riot squads, and shanty towns. Endless shanty towns filled with the poor and destitute.

Doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, does it? The humour, however, is there in every strip; dark, satirical, graveyard humour, punctuated with the allusions, exaggerations and vulgarity that all great graphic satire carries inside.

 

In El Cuarto Reich we have torturers and secret policemen in gaberdine coats, their pockets always dangling an electrode plug, in case they have to torture somebody on the go. They all wear T-shirts emblazoned with telling English language slogans: ‘Status Quo Loyal Force’, ‘Fort Bragg North Carolaina’ and ‘Fort Benning Columbia Georgia’ are the most common. It is common knowledge South of the border that Fort Bragg is where the School of The Americas is based. This particular school trains foreign army personnel in counterinsurgency techniques including torture. Torture and psychological warfare manuals from Fort Bragg have been used by right-wing military juntas throughout the region.

The tinpot dictator, dealing with press criticism

The dwellers of the shanty towns are also present in numbers. The shanties are dilapidated, full of flea-bitten dogs, crumbling schools, sewage pipes leaving rivers of filth running through the streets. Above there is always a police helicopter, watching. Hunger is commonplace. In fact the capitalist system demands its presence. According to the Neoliberal economists who stalked the continent some decades ago, poverty is needed to drive wages down and encourage investment. Poverty in Latin America was a requirement of economic policy. As one of the poor people observes, cookery books are subversive texts in the Fourth Reich.

There are other characters to be found in this land. The rich widow in her stretch limo, lecturing her chauffeur on the moral depravity of the poor, the dictator’s wife (the Primera Lady), trying to cover up an ugly reality with pretty flowers, the combi buses, belching out smoke, the children asking questions in school (and you shouldn’t ask questions in the Fourth Reich), the riot police ready to crush the demonstrators that gather in the main square.

As I write, there are riots going on in Egypt and the Arab world clamours for democracy. They could do worse than look across the water, at nations with two hundred years worth of experience of resisting dictatorship, most of whom have left the days of military dictatorship behind. In any event, I hope your Fourth Reichs are swept away by history, that only the works of satirists like Palomo remain to prove they ever existed.

 

ian sneath

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