01-28-11 Footnotes Show 270: Year in Rock: 1991, Reviews of Smith Westerns & Wanda Jackson Listen to the MP3 Stream of this show: (link) Download the Podcast: (Download the MP3)
1 It’s hard to believe, but it’s now been two decades since 1991, a year Jim and Greg believe to be as influential and significant as 1964, 1976 and other great rock years. 1991’s artists, albums and events made way for big changes in the music industry. And the sounds of that year continue to be referenced today. Just look at recent guests Teenage Fanclub and Superchunk, who both released major albums in 1991 and are still filling our playlists in 2011. While Brian Adams and Garth Brooks topped the charts, they don’t tell the story of this year. For Jim and Greg, 1991 was all about:
Nirvana and the birth of Grunge My Bloody Valentine and the growth of Shoegaze Lollapalooza and the rise of the Alternative Nation N.W.A and the reign of Gangsta Rap Massive Attack and the “tripping” of hip-hop
2 Chicago trio Smith Westerns have released their second album called Dye it Blonde, and Jim and Greg are happy to hear that these relative youngsters haven’t shied away from their innocence. Their sweet love songs come out of a great tradition of Midwestern power pop. Plus, adds Greg, when you factor in the guitars and keyboards, the music gets taken to a higher level. He admits there isn’t a lot of drive in the rhythms, but on the basis of melody alone, he gives Dye it Blonde a Buy It rating. Jim also admires the band’s songwriting chops. But, while the first release was a little too lo-fi, this one is a little too polished. Jim says Buy It, but would tell the Smith Westerns to go for more grunge next time.
3 In the ‘50s, Wanda Jackson was the “First Lady of Rockabilly” and a girlfriend of Elvis Presley. Today she’s partnered up with musician and producer Jack White. White previously collaborated with Loretta Lynn, and now he’s again aiming to bring one of his idols into the 21st century. Jim explains that Jackson has still got her signature voice, but everything else about The Party Ain’t Over does not work. He disagrees with the song selection and holds White to blame. Jim says Trash It. Greg agrees that this record is a disappointment. He wishes White had just let the singer be herself. The modern touches are too forced. But for one track alone, “Blue Yodel #6,” Greg says Burn It.
Songs Featured in Show #270 Bryan Adams, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” Waking Up the Neighbours, A&M, 1991 Garth Brooks, “Rodeo,” Ropin’ The Wind, Liberty, 1991 Spin Doctors, “Two Princes,” Pocket Full of Kryptonite, Epic, 1991 Nirvana, “Lithium,” Nevermind, DGC, 1991 Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nevermind, DGC, 1991 Slowdive, “Catch the Breeze,” Just for a Day, Creation, 1991 Ride, “Vapour Trail,” Nowhere, Creation, 1990 My Bloody Valentine, “Only Shallow,” Loveless, Creation, 1991 Guns N’ Roses, “November Rain,” Use Your Illusion I, Geffen, 1991 Jane’s Addiction, “Jane Says,” Nothing’s Shocking, Warner, 1988 Rollins Band, “Hard” Hard Volume, 1989 Nine Inch Nails, “Head Like a Hole,” Pretty Hate Machine, TVT, 1989 Butthole Surfers, “P.S.Y.,” Piouhgd, Rough Trade, 1991 Pearl Jam, “Alive,” Ten, Epic, 1991 N.W.A., “100 Miles and Runnin” Niggaz4Life, Ruthless, 1991 Ice Cube, “Steady Mobbin’,” Death Certificate, Priority, 1991 De La Soul, “Let, Let Me In,” De La Soul is Dead, Tommy Boy, 1991 Massive Attack, “Safe From Harm,” Blue Lines, Virgin, 1991 Smith Westerns, "Still New," Dye It Blond, Fat Possum, 2011 Smith Westerns, "Weekend," Dye It Blond, Fat Possum, 2011 Wanda Jackson, "Thunder on the Mountain," The Party Ain’t Over, Nonesuch, 2011 Wanda Jackson, "Shakin’ All Over," The Party Ain’t Over, Nonesuch, 2011 Wanda Jackson, "You Know That Im No Good," The Party Ain’t Over, Nonesuch, 2011 Wanda Jackson, "Blue Yodel #6," The Party Ain’t Over, Nonesuch, 2011 Bullion, "You Drive Me To Plastic," You Drive Me To Plastic EP, Young Turks, 2011 New Edition, "Mr. Telephone Man," New Edition, MCA, 1984 Public Enemy, "Fight The Power," Fear of a Black Planet, Def Jam, 1994 Electric Wizard, "Dopethrone," Dopethrone, Music Cartel, 2001 Broadcast, "Before We Begin," Haha Sound, Warp Records, 2003