Pop That Goes Crunch!

Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “K-Tel”

The Raspberries’ Bright And Shiny Power Pop

K-Tel FantasticThe most recent post on this site discussed the AM rock experience of the late-60s and early-70s. By the early-70s, though, that experience would not have been complete without the frequent appearance of the K-Tel compilation extravaganzas.

The name “K-Tel” was obviously intended to evoke a radio station playing an assortment of “original hits” by the “original artists,” even if some of those “original hits” were severely edited so they could all fit on a single vinyl platter.But at $3.98 for at least 20 songs, you couldn’t really complain about clipped version of some of the tunes. “Radio edits” appeared frequently on 45’s back then, so the practice was hardly novel.

The 1973 release, Fantastic, is the one that most sticks out in my mind. Besides its groovy rainbow cover, the record managed to combine some great moments in pop history with sheer, unabashed garbage. One minute, you’ve got Elton John at the beginning of the peak or his powers doing “Crocodile Rock,” the next minute you’ve got Donny Osmond doing “The Twelfth Of Never.” One minute, you’ve got Bill Withers’ soulful, earnest “Lean On Me,” the next minute you’ve got Focus yodeling their way through “Hocus Pocus.”

The best thing on the disk, however, was “I Wanna Be With You” by The Raspberries. Along with Big Star and Badfinger, The Raspberries comprise the holy triumvirate of early-70s rock bands that influenced all of the Power Pop that came afterward.

“I Wanna Be With You” was not, however, the first song by The Raspberries to grace a K-Tel disk. Their three-minute ode to convincing a certain lady friend to have sex, “Go All The Way,” anchored a prior K-Tel release, Believe In Music. On that one, K-Tel quite nicely displayed its penchant for the yin and the yang and the good and the bad. Believe In Music also included the aforementioned Mr. Osmond doing “Go Away Little Girl” as a kind of counter-perspective to Eric Carmen’s relentless persistence in trying to get his sweetheart to “please, please go all the way.” K-Tel was not about to be accused of bias.

“I Wanna Be With You” is a perfect pop song, with its ringing guitars, pounding beat, simple call-and-response chorus repeated several times and Carmen’s spot-on, expressive vocals. Although treading the same thematic ground as “Go All The Way,” ‘I Wanna Be With You” is a tad less blatant in its declaration of romantic desire. But only a tad:

If we were older we wouldn’t have to be worried tonight
Baby, oh, I wanna be with you so bad
Oh baby I wanna be with you
Oh yeah … well tonight
Tonight we always knew it would feel so right
So come on baby, I just wanna be with you

Perhaps you could say that “I just wanna be with you” is not the same things as “please, please go all the way,” but that might be making a fine line distinction that Carmen probably did not intend. Both are great songs, among the best of the entire decade of the 1970s. Here’s an excellent live performance of “I Wanna Be With You” from 1978:

The Raspberries’ influence on the music discussed on this site was immense, as we shall see in a future post.

Advertisements

Powerpopaholic Fest Volume One: 18 “Hits” By 18 Original Artists

Powerpoaholic

Powerpop compilations are a good bargain. You get a lot of songs, by a lot of different artists. They’re inexpensive. You get an “instant playlist” created by someone else. You also get to sample tracks you may have overlooked or never knew even existed.

The International Pop Overthrow CDs — coniciding witht the annual multi-city Powerpop festivals of the same name — are well-known in this regard. Not Lame Recordings released several spectacular Powerpop complilations before closing its doors in 2010. SymPophony #1 and its Six Years Of Powerpop are particularly noteworthy. The company’s former owner, Bruce Brodeen, continues to release compliations through his new venture, Pop Geek Heaven.

The “Original Soundtrack” to the Powerpaholic Fest held this past September in Port Jefferson, New York, is a newcomer to the field, and its also a good one. The collection is put out by the folks behind the Powerpopaholic blog, which has been listed on the blogroll on the right-side of this page for the past year.

The really good stuff in this set comes early.

Lannie Flowers kicks off the set. “Give Me A Chance,” from his 2008 release Same Old Story, itself appears on at least two Powerpop compilations that I have, and for good reason. Its a jangle pop classic that will stew around in your mind for days and days. “Come On Girl,” on this collection, is in the same vein with its perfect melodic hooks and jangly guitars right out of 1965. Here it is:

Cliff Hillis, who sang and played on Starbelly’s classic 1998 release Lemonfresh — about which I wrote recently on another site — contributes “Taking Tree” from his recent release, Dream Good. The song conjures XTC and late-60s Kinks, and throws in short, bouncy beats to keep you bopping.

“Every Now And Then” by The Honeymoon Stallions sound like a lost track from John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. “Bawl And Change” by King Washington harkens to the early-70s days of Badfinger and Big Star. Eytan Mirsky’s “Another Week Or Two” is pure pop goodness that flies by in its 3 minutes, 41 seconds.

Is everything on the “Original Soundtrack” as good as those five songs? Of course not. But the collection runs the gamut of the broad genre of Powerpop, from simple songs with loud, fast bright and shiny guitars to introspective pieces with more complex arrangements.

In a perfect world, the set would give you 18 big fat hits by 18 original artists, just like the old K-Tel collections from the 1970s. The Powerpopahlic folks even made their own “K-Tel style commercial” to commemorate the release:

Go check out the Powerpopaholic “Original Soundtrack.” Complete tracks can be sampled, and the entire collection purchased in any format you desire, on Bandcamp. And, for good measure, all profits go to Sandy relief efforts.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: