Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: MGM/Verve Records

Don Sebesky: Clavinet Pioneer

Last November’s tribute to the funkiest musical instrument known to humankind would seem to designate NRBQ‘s “Stomp” (recorded December, 1968) as among the earliest of recordings to feature the clavinet, even though by article’s end I reveal my trump card: “Attractive Girl” by The Termites — an album track on

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The Stonemans (or is it Stonemen?)

The grammarian in me finds it unbelievably difficult to refer to the legendary bluegrass family dynasty as “The Stonemans” – I keep wanting to say “The Stonemen.”  Surely, I’m not the only person who wrestles with this conundrum? Image of The Stoneman Family courtesy of Discogs Ernest “Pop” Stoneman‘s musical

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"Right By My Side"
Zeroto180

“Right By My Side”: (Curt) Boettcher & (Bobby) Jameson

I couldn’t help noticing that Bobby Jameson wrote the kick-off song on Michele O’Malley‘s Saturn Rings album.  Curt Boettcher, interestingly, would be picked to produce Jameson’s second album (although the first “proper” album under his own name) — Color Him In.  “Right By My Side” is the A-side of the

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“Concrete Jungle”: Paradise, in fact, for Joe South

I love the grand Spectorian splendor of this Ray Stevens arrangement for Joe South – “Concrete Jungle” – that was released January 25, 1964 on MGM: “Concrete Jungle”     Joe South     1964 According to PragueFrank, South had recorded this song plus “The Last One to Know” on October 20,

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“Lost Highway”: Hank Williams + Chet Atkins & Friends

One other prominent (and tragic) artist from country music’s early years to get the cosmetic posthumous remix is Hank Williams, whose death in 1953 in no way stopped MGM from issuing new product for the marketplace (often multiple albums per year) through 1981 and beyond.  Hank Williams, for instance, was

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“Johnny Zero”: Reduced to Nothing

Recorded by Merle Kilgore in early November, 1963 at Columbia Recording Studio in Nashville and released January 1964 as a single by MGM: “Johnny Zero”     Merle Kilgore     1963 Does Merle Kilgore sound like Johnny Cash because they were such good friends, or were Merle and Johnny good friends

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“Wildwood Flower on the Autoharp”: Fine Arts vs. Popular Arts

In 1967 Sheb Wooley released a great single, where the A-side – “Love In” – hilariously mocked the “free love” sentiment then in vogue, while the B-side proudly proclaimed the simple music of the “folk” to be the kind that touches his soul the deepest: Wildwood Flower on the Autoharp

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“Rain Flowers”: Power Pop Spawned by The Beatles

The received wisdom is that The Beatles single-handedly invented ‘power pop’ with       “And Your Bird Can Sing,” an album track from 1966’s Revolver.  The truth, however, is a little more elusive.  One could point out that “Paperback Writer” – a song that very much embodies the power pop sound –

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“Museum”: Herman’s Hermits’ Lone Moment of Hipness

I dismissed Herman’s Hermits ages ago (“I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” etc.) but then, in recent years, was given a copy of their 1967 MGM album Blaze (by Tom Avazian – who else?), and had to admit that the kick-off tune was a surprisingly effective one: “Museum”     Herman’s Hermits     1967

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