Monday, July 11, 2005

Shadows of echoes of memories of songs

Merritt: ["When My Boy Walks Down the Street"] was supposed to be like the Three O'Clock but it didn't turn out at all like the Three O'Clock.
Handler: I'll say.

(from the 69 Love Songs interview booklet)

With its ringing guitars and cutesy, wide-eyed (with dilated pupils) lyrics like "Butterflies turn into people" (and "Maybe he should be illegal" surely being a drug reference), "When My Boy Walks Down the Street" was intended to be a tribute to the bands of the Paisley Underground. These groups were based in California in the early/mid 80s and reflected a reverence toward the pop sounds of the 60s with a touch of psychedelia. Perhaps the groups that epitomized the Paisley Underground sound the most were the Three O'Clock, the Bangles, the Dream Syndicate, and the Rain Parade.

In Chickfactor #10, Claudia talked about obtaining a fake ID, along with Stephin, in order to catch a performance by Game Theory, a band that fell in with the Paisley set: "For one glorious year, we got in to see all our favorite neopsychedelic bands like Game Theory, the Bangles, and the Three O'Clock. I adored them." And in Caught in Flux #3, she explained how in her teens, Stephin helped " teach me the difference between Rainy Day, the Rain Parade and the Raincoats."

The fey, gender-neutral singer Michael Quercio came up with the term "Paisley Underground," and his band the Three O'Clock is considered to be the quintessential Paisley group. However, if there is a meta-Paisley album, it definitely has to be Rainy Day, a sort of studio party album full of 60s and early 70s cover songs. Several major Paisley Underground figures are on it: Michael Quercio, David Roback (the Rain Parade, Opal, Mazzy Star), Kendra Smith (Opal, the Dream Syndicate), and even Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles. It has been out of print for ages and is in dire need of a re-issue, so this week I'll feature two songs from it. "I'll Keep It with Mine" (vocals by Susanna Hoffs) was originally tackled by Nico on her debut album (see last week's entry) and allegedly written for her by Bob Dylan, while "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong" (vocals by Kendra Smith) was a Buffalo Springfield song written by Neil Young.

The Three O'Clock - "Jet Fighter"
Rainy Day - "I'll Keep It with Mine"
Rainy Day - "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong"


Anonymous cryptoquip said...

Wow! Those are three terrific songs. (I listened to "When my boy..." twice in a row today, at top volume. :-p)

Love what you're doig with the genre labels, by the way. When I clicked on Death Metal and got Fleetwood Mac, I about died...

11:34 PM  
Blogger Ernest said...

Thanks! The Rainy Day version of "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong" is seriously one of my very favorite recordings, period.

11:11 PM  

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