Monday, July 06, 2009

Guiltless Pleasures

I was hoping for a great music news day after the holiday weekend...maybe a story like Billy Ray Armstrong losing most of his riffing hand in a fireworks accident or breaking news of Michael Jackson's kids having their skin bleached.....but no.

I'm left with fumes, yawning through more of the ugly main mainstream, and ultimately deciding on coming up with another list. The idea for this list was given to me by fellow blogger Isorski from Isorski's Musings...He wanted to do a list of albums we like but probably shouldn't, that's rad enough, but I'm going to expand it to ANYTHING music related.
You could call these guilty pleasures....I like "guiltless" better.

1)Steely Dan- Most hard ass rockers think Steely Dan reek of pretention and are completely soulless perfectionists who were too "above" touring in their heyday to care. Yeah! But the songs are great! And Donald Fagan was an awesome lyricist! He wrote most of his songs about drugs, sex, using drugs to get sex, dirty work, bad business practices and shady characters. Christ! The band is named after a dildo! Babylon Sisters, Hey Nineteen, Haitian Divorce, Black Cow, Kid Charlemagne, Don't Take Me Alive, Bad Sneakers, Katy Lied.....all brilliant. Ever wonder why you never see a cover band do the Dan? Because they can't.

Steely Dan also had the best studio musicians known to man to compliment the awesome skillz of Becker/Fagan....Larry Carlton, Skunk Baxter, Steve Gadd..and so on and so forth. It was geek music before indie existed and it still holds up. Try Aja or The Royal Scam on for size.

2)Disco- The genre was reviled in the 70s. They blew up thousands of disco LPs in Comiskey Park in 1979..the outfits were the most outrageously bad examples of fashion from any century(worse than powdered wigs, worse than togas, worse than burkas). I hated it too, because I was supposed to. You cannot rock a Highway to Hell baseball jersey and claim to know all the words to "Night Fever" as well. At least you couldn't back then. I would have been strung up by my yarbles from the gym rafters... But there was a time when I loved to dance..we all danced at a place called 747 on the weekends during the high school years...and although it was the mid '80s...the true disco era hits were played and everybody shook what mama gave 'em.
Last week after MJ passed....I "found" over 250 disco songs from '76-'81.The memories came back(they had never really left, but were buried under Sabbath Bloody Sabbath for all these years)...The one thing you cannot deny about disco MORE than any other genre was that it was perfectly tailored for DANCING. You have to move somehow when you hear "I Feel Love" By Donna Summer or "Good Times" by Chic or "Jive Talkin" by the Bee Gees You can't NOT move. The disco Bass that met the disco drum beat usually fell between 115-140 Beats per Minute(BPM)...simply put...the asses left the seats.
I'm not going to break out the parachute pants and hit the Disco Saturdays at the local Lions Club anytime soon. But you may see me belting out Boogie Nights in a traffic jam now more than ever...if I can't move...I'm gonna THINK move.

3) Yacht Rock- For those not in the know...Yacht Rock is, according to WIKIPEDIA:

The popular soft rock that peaked between the years of 1976 and 1984. Significant "yacht rockers" include Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, and Toto. In the musical sense, yacht rock refers to the highly polished brand of soft rock that emanated from Southern California during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In part, the term relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying champagne and smooth music while out for a sail. Additionally, since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many "yacht rockers" made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork, particularly the anthemic track "Sailing" by Christopher Cross. Yacht Rock music is commonly described as, "A little bit better than elevator music!"

Lets add the Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oates, Steve Miller, Ambrosia, Seals and Crofts, The Little River Band, Bread, Pablo Cruise, Ace, Player, Orleans, Looking Glass, England Dan and John Ford Coley,Styx and REO Speedwagon(give or take a few songs)

Yacht Rock is the term..there was also an online video series following the fictionalized lives and careers of American soft rock stars of the late 1970s and early 1980s....called Yacht Rock which is where journalists stole the name.

Who doesn't like "Kiss On My List", "Brandy" or "Black Water"? Who doesn't know every word to "The Pina Colada Song"? Who won a Grammy for Best New Artist and for Album of the Year in 1981?!!??? Christopher Cross, that's who! BAM!

Yacht Rock makes me want to find my own Tenille and make sweet Muskrat Love to Her.
Yacht Rock makes me want to take a walk in a windy park, take a drive down on the beach, stay at home and watch tv, you know it really doesn't matter that much to me. I just Really Want To See You Tonight.

Those are my first three Guiltless pleasures and there will be much more to come...

Why does someone who hates hip hop so much have 4 Beastie Boy Albums? Guilty of that Pleasure too.....

I hope to hear some of your takes as always.....and thank you for reading and giving a shit enough to reply.


  1. Davidson Mulkey11:18 PM

    The Captain and Tenille were the soundtrack to my summer of 1975-76-ish. I really dug "Muskrat Love" and the other tune of theirs that escapes me now. Toni Tenille actually sang on "The Wall"! Another one from the "It's a Small World Department" the band that had a hit with "Moonlight Feels Right" called Starbuck in (If I recall correctly) 1976 had a drummer that was my babysitters cousin!

  2. Davidson Mulkey11:21 PM

    GOT IT! "Love Will Keep us Together!" I freakin' LOVE that tune. It reminds me of the smell of chlorine pool water and coppertan, mown grass and grilled chopped beef. Oh! and Diane Wilson.

  3. Dave, Knowing you, the song that escapes you must have been "Do That to Me One More Time"..I bet you had a captain's hat too, you whippersnapper.

  4. This may be worse than everything on your list, but my big guilty pleasure right now is Taylor Swift. She's so damn cute and "Love Song" is catchy as hell.

  5. My Take on your gulitless pleasures.
    1. Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic! Nuff said.
    2. Diso: The only reason I went to the disco bars was to find the disco ladies. Never much cared for then nor do I now, But you are right once in a while I hear the Bee Gees and got to get off my ass.
    3.Yacht Rock: Always good stuff while laying around on the beach with nary a care in the world. I wondered why Chris Cross won all those awards.

  6. I once heard an interview with session musician and current Chicago vocalist/keyboardist, Bill Champlin where he described Toto by saying, "They're like Steely Dan with teeth." After listening to their [i]Kingdom of Desire[/i], [i]Mindfields[/i], and [i]Falling in Between[/i] albums I must agree.

    Speaking of Steely Dan, that's how some of the guys in Toto got their start. Jeff Porcaro was a 16 year old session drummer doing sessions with the Dan... Good stuff man.

    That being said, some of Toto's other material (in particular Toto IV and [i]Tambu[/i]) would definitely fall under the "Yacht Rock" umbrella.

    Speaking of Yacht Rock... I'd add Boz Scaggs [i]Silk Degrees[/i] and Chicago 16 and 17 to that list.

  7. Steely Dan = Brilliant. Becker and Fagen got the cream of the session crop to play with them because they wrote stuff that was fun to play. I played in a band years ago that actually did cover two of their tunes ,albeit easier ones ("Do It Again" and "Hey Nineteen").

    When disco was raging, I was listening to the Beatles (not cool at the time) and the Who.

    The bassline for "Disco Inferno" by the Tramps is friggin' AWESOME, though. Sad to say, I played bass in a band that did weddings for a short time and that was in the setlist. It was the most fun to play.

    Not big on disco, otherwise.

    My humble 2 cents, less federal tax....

  8. Well, we have more stuff in common....I never even knew it was ucnool to like Stealy Dan, I have openly liked them since day one.

    Disco - had to go three towns over to dance the night away at a club called "Deja Vu" in Newport Beach. If any of my rock friends would have found out they'd have hung me by my yarbles (wait, what are yarbles - I don't think I have those?!).

    As for Yahcht rock, I never heard that term before but I like ALL the bands you mentioned. Was at a private concert held by Kenny Loggins, he's my fave yacht rocker closely followed by Toto and Ambrosia.

  9. I have to say, good list my man. I started liking Steely Dan after hearing the guitar work in Reeling In The Years.

    Never had a problem with Disco. At least they mostly were real bands playing real instruments. Although I was 10 at the time and got my exposure through I Was Made For Loving You (KISSco) and Miss You/Emotional Rescue.

    Never got into the yahcht rock. And I would not put the Doobies in that category, at least until Michael McDonald joined/ruined the band post- Minute by Minute. He was a Steely Dan studio guy too, by the way.

    Will post my own guilty pleasures on my blog, as I too am at a loss for topics this week and don't give two shits about Michael Jackson.

  10. My latest guiltless pleasures are Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood and non-music is Craigs List especially concert tickets.