Nixon Victory Song

 

This past weekend, I recorded my first video on youtube.  It was a thrift store find on Whidbey Island a couple of years ago.  It’s a one-sided 7″ for Leonard Keller’s “Nixon Victory Song”, which seems to have been an unofficial campaign song from 1960.  For those who may not know, 1960 was the first time citizens of Alaska and Hawaii could vote in a Presidential election, hence the line from the song.  It was also the year Nixon went up against a candidate by the name of John F. Kennedy.

The Nixon Presidential library seems to boast that they have the lyrics for this song as part of the library, however as far as I could tell, the official songs were “Click with Dick” and “Buckle Down with Nixon”…two titles that evoke seat belts…as this was two years after seat belts became standard features in cars, as opposed to optional add on.

For comparison, this was the campaign song for JFK, as featured on Mad Men.

 

The reason I wanted to post this song to the internet at this moment in time is because, sadly, I would rather have Richard Nixon in the White House right now than the current occupant…even if it were in the Watchmen world…

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From the vault: “Two Dreadful Children”

My partner has taken to calling our two 2.5 year olds “demon children”

…which made me think of this song from my days of listening to the Sunday comedy program on 106.1, which was a country station the rest of the time.

Nipsey Hussle: 1985 – 2019

Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Joseph Asghedom) was shot and killed on March 31 outside his Los Angeles clothing store.  He was raised by his mother in Los Angles, an area where in his younger years he became associated with the local Crips gang.

He first rose to prominence through his early mixtapes, the third of which caught the ear of Jay Z.  His lone studio album, Victory Lap, was released in February 2018 and received a nomination for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys.

He leaves behind two children.

Because I could use any reason to post this song, especially after the Barr Report was released, here’s the song for which I will always remember him.

Looking up this track, I learned that there’s a part 2…I’ve not heard it yet, but I really want to now…apparently it does not feature Nipsey Hussle, but still…

It was 20 years ago today…March 1999

Go Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Go is a 1999 movie about a bunch of young adults who frequently go clubbing.  The soundtrack was released on March 30, 1999.  Therefore, much of the soundtrack is on the poppy/techno side.  There are two tracks that epitomize the feel of the soundtrack.

In doing my limited search for this review, as far as I can tell, this is the first time the world was subjected to this song.  The lead singer wrote the song after hearing “More More More” at a club and deciding to loop part of the instrumental bridge….so, yes, this song is based upon a groove written by porn star Andrea True.

The other track that was a hit and featured on this album was “Gangster Trippin” by techno artist Fatboy Slim.  The track features, among others, samples of “Entropy” by DJ Shadow and “Beatbox Wash” by Dust Junkys.  It had originally been released as a single by Fatboy Slim in October 1998, but received renewed radio play after being featured on the Go Soundtrack.  The video was directed by Roman Coppola.

Techno music was the new hotness in alternative music radio between about 1997 and 2000.  This movie and accompanying soundtrack took full advantage of that popularity.  A few of the techno artists who peaked during that time have continued to make names for themselves.  The Go Soundtrack serves as a time capsule of that era.

From the vault: Jimes – “Ants”

Bellingham, WA’s own Jimes left their permanent mark on my world with their song “Ants”.  When I saw them a few years ago, hearing them perform this was one of the highlights of my whole year.

And so, when we had an ant problem and got some stuff to try and get rid of them, I had to introduce my 2.5 year olds to this track.

Afterward, one of them was singing “ants all over yooooou”.  My work here is done…

Dick Dale, 1937 – 2019

Dick Dale, the surf rock legend, died on March 16 at the age of 81 of congestive heart failure.  He apparently is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but my bet is he will be next year.

Gotta admit, this one hurts a little bit.  I mean, my god listen to him…

 

I hope you are catching some monster waves, Mr. Dale.

It was 20 years ago today…February 1999

Built to Spill-  Keep It Like a Secret

Originally released February 2, 1999, Keep It Like a Secret is Built to Spill’s fourth album.  I knew of the band before this album, but this is the one that really ratcheted up their attention in my mind.  Several online reviews have stated that is their most accessible album to date.

Once you hear that they are a band with indirect lyrics and astonishing guitar inter-workings, one may almost want to write them off as a Sonic Youth copy.  A prime example would be their first single form this album, “Center of the Universe”.  However, when you listen to their lyrics, there is a point to what they’re trying to get across.  “Just keep watching your TV…waiting for someone to say something that’s right” is two lines from the chorus.  Quite opposite form that advice, I think the point of those lines is that one should not do just that…go out and make your own decisions.  If you see yourself as the center of the universe, perhaps you should see what is happening around you and try to figure out why.

Perhaps more indicative of their guitar noodling, the track “Carry the Zero” spawned an EP of the same name.  During this era, they would frequently close out concerts performing this song, extending an already 6 minute song even further.  The track uses a lot of math-centric lyrics, and if I’m anything besides a music nerd, it’d be a math nerd, so that helps bend the track to my liking.  The lyrics are telling somebody off for not being a complete person and comparing that to something that is broken and put back together wrong.  Both are compared to long division/multiplication and forgetting to carry the zero…

The track that has earned Built to Spill much of my undying loyalty (the other track would be “Car”) is the perfect bit of pop distillation that is “You Were Right”.  I have posted a longer review of only this song, but it takes lines from well known songs and decries whether the proclamations within them were “wrong” or “right”.  And this is what makes me love the song so.

Right:

You were right when you said all that glitters isn’t gold (Neil Young’s “Don’t be Denied”)
You were right when you said all we are is dust in the wind (Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind”)
You were right when you said we’re all just bricks in the wall (Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, part 2”)
And when you said manic depression’s a frustrated mess (Jimi Hendrix’ “Manic Depression”)

You were right when you said you can’t always get what you want (Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”)
You were right when you said it’s a hard rain’s gonna fall (Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”)
You were right when you said were still running against the wind (Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind”)
Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone (John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane”)
You were right when you said this is the end (The Doors’ “The End”)

Wrong:

You were wrong when you said everything’s gonna be alright (Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”)

Built to Spill have finished their run on Warner Brothers records, releasing their 8th studio album in 2015.  Their next album will be released independently on their own label, but the past 20 years has built them up as a band with a national following of fans who know what to expect, so I’m confident the band is making the right decision.

And now, I leave you with a track turning 25 this year, a quarter of a century of being hooked on this band…well worth the adventure.

It Was 20 Years Ago Today…January 1999

Ani DiFranco’s “Up Up Up Up Up Up” was released on January 19, 1999 and is Ani’s 9th studio album.  Upon release, it was criticized for being too much of a departure from Not A Pretty Girl or Little Plastic Castles.  What does show up on this album, though are the same cynical lyrics from a self-appointed riot grrrl of folk, decrying the culture of 1999 (think the Monica Lewinsky scandal), without tying the lyrics to such fleeting stories.

“Angry Anymore” was released as a single, and tells the story of being a single parent.  As the only parent involved in my adult special-needs son’s life, I can definitely pick up what she’s putting down in this song.

Her song “Jukebox” from this album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, ultimately losing out to Sheryl Crow’s cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” from the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy.

Ms. DiFranco has released 10 more albums in the 20 years since this release, expounding on her own unique style and keeping up with the times.  Her 2012 album, Which Side Are You On even featured banjo and vocals from none other than Pete Seeger.