Nona Hendryx & Material, “Bustin’ Out”

Here’s another post of mine from Larry Haley’s The Bop Shop.

The late Ronny Drayton was a New York City guitarist who came up at the same time as his friend, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid (I remember a 1980s feature article about the pair in the great, long-gone Musician magazine). He was a solid branch on the Hendrix family tree (along with Eddie Hazel and Ernie Isley). In fact, when I saw Ronny in Nona’s band at The Living Room in Providence, ca. 1983, he was playing an old Stratocaster through a Marshall Plexi amp — the classic Jimi rig.

“Bustin’ Out” is Nona’s great statement of pride, confidence, and even defiance. For the song’s second half, Nona passes the torch to Ronny, who answers her vocal with his own assertive, uplifting guitar solo.

play Nona Hendryx & Material’s “Bustin’ Out” (1981) on YouTube

Tarnation, “Like A Ghost”

Here’s another post of mine from Larry Haley’s The Bop Shop.

Greil Marcus’ Substack sometimes reprints articles and reviews he wrote in the 90s, and today’s featured kindred spirits Chris Isaak and Tarnation. I listened to the latter a lot back then — two albums and gone. In this song, spaghetti western guitar meets Vincent Price organ (Marcus made the House of Usher comparison). And always, Paula Frazer’s mournful, yet enticing voice.

play Tarnation’s “Like A Ghost” (1997) on YouTube

Karla Bonoff, “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me”

Here’s another post of mine from Larry Haley’s The Bop Shop.

Linda Ronstadt had an almost-hit with this song the year before its writer, Karla Bonoff, released it on her debut album. Linda’s version is kinda sweet, but Karla’s is one of my favorite songs from the seventies.

Karla’s vocal has more emotional urgency, Waddy Wachtel’s guitar bites harder, and the chorus kicks it like the one in the Peter Asher-produced Ronstadt version only hints at.

Now the thing is, this album was produced by former Stone Poney Kenny Edwards — a prolific session guitarist and songwriter, but with only a (literal) handful of album credits as producer (most of which were Karla Bonoff albums). He certainly got it right on this, his first try.

play Karla Bonoff’s “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me” (1977) on YouTube

The Third Mind, “Groovin’ Is Easy”

Here’s another post of mine from Larry Haley’s The Bop Shop.

The Third Mind continue to dig into 1960s classics with their slow-burn take on The Electric Flag’s “Groovin’ Is Easy”. I fell in love with Jessie Sykes’ voice on “Morning Dew” from the Mind’s first album, and here she turns what almost felt like mansplaining in the Flag’s version to something more… tender…

Guitar note: on all Third Mind songs, Dave Alvin is in the left channel, Victor Krummenacher in the right. And the video, which conjures up what we used to see on the walls of the Boston Tea Party, was created by Victor.

play The Third Mind’s “Groovin’ Is Easy” (2023) on YouTube

Eurythmics, “Julia”

Here’s another post of mine from Larry Haley’s The Bop Shop.

A lost album of the eighties, and Eurythmics’ most experimental to date. Their label, Virgin, commissioned the duo to produce a soundtrack for the Michael Radford film (titled Nineteen Eighty-Four), the second one based on Orwell’s novel. However, Dominic Muldowney, working with the director, had already completed a full orchestral score. Chaos ensued, and Eurythmics were caught in the middle. Depending on which version of the film you view, there may or may not be any of their music included — except for “Julia”, which plays over the credits.

play Eurythmics’ “Julia” (1984) on YouTube

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, “Righteous Life”

Here’s another post of mine from Larry Haley’s The Bop Shop.

This album swings away from the group’s bossa-nova bag into the folk-rock domain, with some heavily counterculture-influenced lyrics. This song in particular: so evocative of the early seventies. Also worth checking out: this album’s excellent covers of “Chelsea Morning” and “For What It’s Worth”.

play Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66’s “Righteous Life” (1970) on YouTube