Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, April 08, 2007
      ( 4/08/2007 06:52:00 AM ) Bill S.  

"WHY YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR THE MUSIC THROUGH THE SCREAMS!" – Spent part of last night groovin' (with my wife) to the music of 1964, via a British compilation film entitled Pop Gear (a.k.a. Go Go Mania). Hosted by the desperately long-haired deejay Jimmy Savile (who only appears for two-thirds of the movie than inexplicably disappears), the flick is a collection of Britbeat bands and singers from the start of the sixties invasion, lip-synching their way thru hits and misses on a sparsely decorated studio set that looks like every bad variety show you can remember from that era – only without the audience sounds. For that – and to really draw the kids in – the flick opens and closes with too-quick live concert footage of the Beatles, which I'm betting pissed off more than one Fab Four fanatic back in the movie theatres.

Still, much of the lip-synched studio material is choice: steady 60's hitmakers like the Animals, Herman's Hermits (well, wife Becky still likes 'em!) and Peter & Gordon; one-hit marvels like the Honeycombs; and who-the-hell-are-they's like Billie Davis and the Fourmost, who nonetheless also bring some decent Britpop tracks to the screen. On the downside are two totally kitschy dance numbers done to the kinda disposable faux-rockin' instrumentals you associate with bad sitcoms and too-cheap-to-hire-even-the-local-garage-band drive-in flicks – plus tracks by loungey heartthrob Matt Monro (best known in the U.S., perhaps, for singing the themes to Born Free and From Russia, With Love), who not only gets more face time than any of the other singers, but also is handed the flick's forgettable theme song. (Guess the guy was Mister Theme Song.) Still, for every oozy Matt Monro track, there was a "Don't Let Me Misunderstood" or a surprising song like the Nashville Teens' splendid cover of "Tobacco Road" (best known in the U.S. as done by the Blues Magoos, though Southern Culture on the Skids includes a fine remake on their most recent disc).

But for my money, the most astonishing performance on Gear was by a band called the Pennies, who do a Mersey folk-rock version of Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night." You know, the song Nirvana so spookily used to conclude its MTV "Unplugged" performance. Play the Pennies' rockin' rendition of Leadbelly's grim-&-creepy country death song alongside Kurt Cobain's and you have the transformation of rock-&-roll music into rock in two simple tracks . . .

BONUS: Here's the Honeycombs as they appeared in Gear, doing both their big Joe Meek-produced hit, "Have I The Right?" and a lesser-but-still-fun track which I'd guess is entitled "Eyes." Check out serious drummer Honey Lantree.

# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter