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Alterkaker Hot 3

April 22, 2016

The praise will continue to pour in about Prince, and deservedly so. He was a master of all facets of the game, from songwriting to singing to performing. He was do damn prolific, and possessed more mystique than any superstar since Garbo, and with everything else working for him it is easy to forget what a great musician he was (he played almost all the instruments on his first five albums). When Eric Clapton was asked how it felt to be the best guitarist in the world, he reportedly replied “I don’t know. Why don’t you go ask Prince?”

The hits are all familiar to us. Here are three lesser-known Prince tunes that speak to Prince’s unparalleled versatility.

5 Women: Prince wrote this gorgeous jazz song and gave it to Joe Cocker to record. Prince also recorded it, but never released it. Warner Brothers then put it on a compilation 'Old Friends 4 Sale' album after Prince had left the label.

The Future: This is the opening track to the Batman soundtrack of 1989, a driving, machine-funk beat with dystopian lyrics – a favorite of techno DJs across the globe. 

God: This B-side of ‘Purple Rain’
(1984) originally appeared as background music in the Purple Rain movie, but was cut from the LP. Prince does his take on gospel and shows off some novel vocal experimentation in the process -- consider this Prince doing Yoko. It's a strange song, but considered one of his most overtly religious tracks so it seems apropos to include here.

Prince
Prince In Black & White
Prince Looking Dapper
February 18, 2016

The 2016 Presidential primaries have brought a potent entertainment factor to our politics. Trump, of course, has been the most absorbing, although his detractors aren’t exactly applauding the show. Maybe, I’m thinking, if The Donald would add some songs to his repertoire it might make for a more varied and pleasing performance. Here are three tunes with lyrics he would feel comfortable singing -- the first two, in fact, seem as though they were written expressly for him to perform.

Just to be fair and balanced, I’ve included a video, with cool footage of Sixties London, backed by a song that would be perfect to play as Hillary Clinton bounds up the stage and struts to the podium: Won’t Get Fooled Again, by The WhoMeet the new boss, Same as the old boss

Political Science, by Randy Newman, was written in 1972 (for the Sail Away album), but it not only seems as relevant today as back then, it actually seems more so The tune is a call for America to annihilate the rest of the world -- phrased in perfect Trump tone with his masterful sense of reasoning: "They all hate us anyhow, so let's drop the big one now." And Newman's tongue-in-cheek rationales for hatred are downright Trumpian:“South America stole our name"!

Scum Of The Earth, by The Kinks, would have Trump singing: “They call me the scum of the earth. They say I’m the scab of the nation..." These are the opening lines to this Ray Davies song from The Kinks’ 1974 “Preservation Act 2” concept album. It is a plea from a Trumpesque villain to understand that he is only human. Warning: This song may engender sympathy for The Donald.

Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues, by Bob Dylan, was written and recorded by Bob Dylan in 1962, so to make it relevant to Trump we’ll have to change“Communists” and “Reds” to “Muslims” and “Mexicans” – and it would certainly seem appropriate for the rest of the Republican Party to chime in on harmony. This song is a bit of a stretch for Trump, but it's a funny, very early Dylan tune with an interesting history. Dylan was supposed to perform it on The Ed Sullivan Show, but the day of the live taping, a CBS program practices executive said the song would have to be replaced because of possible libel against the John Birch Society. Ed Sullivan backed Dylan, but CBS wouldn’t budge. Dylan refused to switch songs, walked off the set, and never appeared on the show -- gutsy considering he was pretty much unknown at the time and being on Sullivan was yuuuuge. Then Colombia Records, a division of CBS, ordered the song removed from Dylan’s upcoming The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album. He relented on this one -- his first album sold poorly and he had little power to object -- and it was taken off the LP.

Political Science, by Randy Newman
Scum Of The Earth, by The Kinks
Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues, by Bob Dylan
Won't Get Fooled Again, by The Who
January 30, 2016

The Jefferson Airplane was an ensemble group with Grace Slick receiving most of the media spotlight, but Paul Kantner was always a strong force in the group (along with Marty Balin, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady). The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band pioneered the ragtag, improvisational San Francisco psychedelic rock sound and was the first group from that city to hit it big nationally (and internationally).

"Crown of Creation" was released in 1968, 10 months after the band's more acclaimed "After Bathing at Baxter's." The title track's lyrics, written by Kantner, are based on John Wyndham's "The Chrysalids"; the music is emblematic of  the loud, somewhat chaotic sound of the Airplane.

"We Can Be Together", music and lyrics by Kantner (inspired by the Black Panthers), comes from the Airplane's "Volunteers" LP that encapsulated the angry, rebellious spirit of that year (as angry as Bernie and Donald!). When the band performed this song for The Dick Cavett Show on August 19, 1969, it marked the first time that the F-bomb was ever said/sung on television. Cavett was asked to make a pre-show disclaimer statement before the broadcast. 

"Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?" appeared on "Blows Against The Empire", a 1970 album by "Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship" that predated by four years the actual "Jefferson Starship" band. This song features Kantner and Grace Slick along with Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar and David Crosby on guitar and vocals.

 

Crown of Creation by the Jefferson Airplane
We Can Be Together by the Jefferson Airplane
Have You Seen The Stars Tonight? by Jefferson Starship
Wooden Ships by Jefferson Starship

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