Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Month: May 2016

Skeeter Davis Confronts Nixon

As History Channel’s website explains for those born in the 1980s and beyond: “At a [December 8, 1969] news conference, President Richard Nixon says that the Vietnam War is coming to a ‘conclusion as a result of the plan that we have instituted.’ Nixon had announced at a conference in

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Larry Fast: Digital, Experimental

Tip of the hat to my old tennis partner and high school music rival. Ed Goldstein [he was in The Head Band with future “Smooth” songwriter, Itaal Shur, and one-time-bassist-for-Sleepy-Labeef-turned-sociology-professor, Adam Moskowitz, while I was in The Max, formerly Max & the Bluegills], who recently paid tribute to Peter Gabriel and

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The Left Banke: Clavinet ’67

A big breakthrough in Zero to 180’s lifelong quest to identify the “first clavinet recording“:  Michael Brown plays a Hohner clavinet on “Let Go of You Girl” from The Left Banke’s debut album, released February, 1967 (i.e., 2 months before John Sebastian’s “6 O’Clock“): “Let Go of You Girl”     The

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“Six O’Clock”: First Clavinet?

Jim Kimsey – much to my annoyance – would connect the dots first:  John Sebastian‘s opening clavinet chords tick-tick-ticking the seconds of the new dawning day on “6 O’Clock” just might be the earliest recording of a clavinet, having been released April, 1967: “Six O’Clock”     The Lovin’ Spoonful      1967 I

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Peppermint Trolley: Clavinet ’67

It’s always a thrill when somebody who actually served on the front lines of music history reaches out to help fill in some of the historical gaps.  Just last month, Danny Faragher of the Peppermint Trolley Company chimed in on an earlier NRBQ piece that attempts to identify the earliest

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Lee Hazlewood vs. Don Nix: ’73

I discovered another musical coincidence recently — two albums with similarly-constructed titles released the same year by two hip and influential songwriter-producer-arrangers:  Poet, Fool or Bum by Lee Hazlewood -vs.- Hobos, Heroes & Street Corner Clowns by Don Nix, both from 1973. On his one and only album for Capitol,

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“Bye Bye”: Faded Rural America

My father-in-law, Jim, is a folk music enthusiast whose music collection, I noticed, includes John Hartford‘s groundbreaking ‘hippie-grass’ album Aereo-Plain from 1971, his first for Warner Brothers.  Somehow I got the notion that “Bye Bye” — John Hartford’s standout track from 1972 Warner Brothers 2-LP sampler Days of Wine and

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Ian McLagan’s Reggae Bump

I still wish I had those post-it notes my brother Bryan made when I was 11 that helpfully pointed me to (1) which Jimi Hendrix albums to seek out (e.g., Electric Ladyland) and (2) which ones to avoid (e.g., Midnight Lightning).  Decades later I would make the accidental and hilarious

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Making Each Cymbal Crash Count

Listen carefully and you can count each of the three cymbal crashes in this unjustly obscure – and humorous – rocksteady 45 from Jamaican vocal group The Three Tops: about a “gambling lady” with a yen for the one-armed bandit: “Slot Machine”     The Three Tops     1968 I am fascinated by

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Kingstonians’ $800 Rocksteady

Heavy 1968 rocksteady from the studio of Karl ‘Sir JJ‘ Johnson, with Lyn Taitt, possibly, on guitar.  But the real mystery lies with the vocalists themselves, The Kingstonians, specifically the basso profundo: Q:  Are the tapes being slowed down, or does the bass vocalist really sing that deep? “Put Down

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