Tonight's "The Bottomless Pit" at 10 centers around the story and the music of the great songmakers, song stylists and record makers Voice of The Beehive, circa 1988-1992. They've been somewhat forgotten lately and are "underappreciated," but not by me. For my money, they deserve to be widely acknowledged in praiseful terms. Their stuff should be on clothing store soundsystems all over the world, causing people to say to themselves, "Wow, what great song is this?" or "Wow, I remember them! They were excellent!"
The group was founded and fronted by Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke Belland, two sisters from L.A. who ventured to London, England to launch their careers. In fact, it was in England where I first heard them on the radio, saw them on TV and bought their first album on a cassette.
On this week's show I'll pay tribute for the third time (the fourth if you count reruns) to Bobby Womack, now deceased. I can now add this to the list of Hugely Dumb Things That I've Done In My Life: not going to see Bobby Womack at City Winery just a couple months ago. Geeezzzz.
A) I knew about it in advance.
B) I could've gotten in free and probably would've been able to meet him.
C) It was public knowledge that his health outlook was bad.
D) He's one of my Favorite Musical Artistes Ever and it would've been an honor to be in the same bulding as him. There's a life lesson in this, but I'm too dumb to learn it.
Earlier this month, on June 18, I took part in a multi-artist extravaganza at the City Winery to honor the 40th Anniversary of the Nuggets album, originally a 2-LP set on Elektra Records (expanded into a 4-CD boxed set by Rhino in 1998). The great Lenny Kaye compiled the original album, and hosted the show at the Winery. The Nuggets album changed rock music and popular culture for the better. Lenny rescued a particular strain of raw and vital rock music from the scrap heap of history and made it timeless and immortal. Of course the music speaks for itself and I feel bad for anyone who doesn't feel more alive—and glad to be alive—when they hear "You're Gonna Miss Me" by The 13th Floor Elevators, "Liar Liar" by The Castaways and others.
While right in the middle, literally, of recording tonight's "The Bottomless Pit," I learned of the death of Gerry Goffin, who's truly one of my artistic heroes. It crossed my mind to just rip the whole thing apart and start again, make a full-on Gerry Goffin tribute show. I opted not to do that, but I do pay tribute to him during the show. Gerry Goffin was absolutely brilliant. He's "gone" now, but the songs aren't going anywhere, certainly not during my lifetime. So, as per my original game plan, for the first part of the show I play some tracks from a couple of favorite albums by Ricky Nelson and Santo and Johnny. Then during Parts 2-3, it's a bunch of new purchases, tracks by Sharon Van Etten, Curtis Harding (pictured), the walking horror show that is Ginger Baker, Sabina, and others.
Usually these days, when I'm interested in a book, I get it from my local library. If they don't have it, they'll order it. But the other week I broke my usual habit and bought Zappa by Barry Miles, read it, and really dug it. Tonight on "The Bottomless Pit" at 10, I'll be taking my cue from this 2004 book, playing lots of Frank Zappa's music and dipping into some of the R&B records that inspired him by Lightnin' Slim, The Velvetones, Jackie and The Starlites and others. Zappa, of course, did a bad job of taking good care of himself and left the building too soon, for my money. His was a unique voice and a unique presence in the world. This is actually the second time that I've paid tribute to him and his remarkable music on the show and probably not the last.