Singer-songwriter pop icon Marshall Crenshaw hosts a new weekly radio show on Fordham University's radio station WFUV in NYC. Called "The Bottomless Pit," the hour-long show airs Saturday nights at 10PM EST and features music from Marshall's own insane record collection and tales about his 30 years as a recording artist, actor, and fan.
"I play as much NRBQ music as I can (there's something called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that restricts how many songs you can play by a single artist during an hour; WFUV follows it), lots of Song Poem Archive** (see below) stuff, lots of me running my mouth about Tom and the significance of NRBQ in my life. I think it's a good memorial/appreciation. - MC"
The Bottle Rockets play first and then they'll back Marshall for the second half of the evening. Crenshaw's know for his lilting pop but if you've seen him enough times you know he also has a rock and roll heart and occasionally busts out an MC5 son and the Bottle Rockets are the best band for the job.
The new Bottle Rockets album "Lean Forward" is a flat out, smoking rock record and continues the Rockets’ creative resurgence. With producer and former Del Lord, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel , the Bottle Rockets craft populist anthems with the sympathetic eye of Woody Guthrie and sonic stomp of Crazy Horse.
Tickets for his Iron Horse show are available at Northampton Box Office, 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.
**Marshall is referring to a delightfully bizarre and unbelievably entertaining (if you're of a certain mindset...i.e. you get the humor of, say, the films "Waiting For Guffman" or "Best In Show") project that Tom Ardolino spearheaded that spawned several compilation albums. The first was called Beat of the Traps.
Here are Tom Ardolino's original liner notes for Beat of the Traps:
Wild music; crazy lyrics. Beautiful music; perfect lyrics. You get all this and more with these kinds of records. Strange sounding cheap early electronic keyboards like the Mellotron; out of control drum machines. Normal-sounding budget session musicians; drunk -- or something -- sounding session musicians. And singers who usually sound like they never saw the words to the song until the recording light was on. They probably recorded 50 of these "songs" in one day, sometimes using the same track more than once. It is this kind of set-up that can produce innocently beautiful works of art.
The ads in the back of magazines would say "Send us your poems or song lyrics and we'll get them recorded. Big money could be yours!," or some such come-on. What it turns out to be is that you pay them to put music to your words, then they send you a couple of copies of it on their label. And that's all they do. There are many of these companies, but the king of them all would have to be the MSR label of Hollywood, California -- now, sadly, defunct. Sometimes the song would be pressed on a 45, sometimes on an album collection, maybe with a picture of the house composer to help convince the customer that they're legit.
One day in 1971 I was looking at some albums in a surplus hardware store that had bought out a radio station's record library when I saw an album on MSR Records called Variety Songs For '69. It had a cheap stock cover with a big musical staff and song titles like "Richard Nixon," "More On Ode To Billy Jo," and "Beat Of The Traps," and the back cover was blank. It looked like something I'd better get.
I went home and played it, and by the time I got to the song called "Beat Of The Traps" I knew there was something wild going on here. Not every song was great (they can't all be gems), but the ones that were sounded like they'd reached outer space. Listen to the song "Beat Of The Traps" and you'll see what I mean. These guys must have been recording these songs all day and by the time they got to this cut all hell had broken loose. Everyone involved gives an amazing performance -- these lyrics really inspired them.
From then on, I would look out for these kinds of records and found that there are a lot of them out there. Rod Rogers also turns up on other labels, sometimes under the name Rodd Keith. I'd like to see a picture of him. Once while in Hollywood I called the MSR number, hoping to find out about Rod. A guy answered the phone and I asked him if he knew where Rod Rogers could be reached. He said, "You wouldn't want to go where he is." "What do you mean?," I asked. "He's pushin' up daisies, that's where he is." "Oh no, you mean he died?" "Yep. He was a keyboard genius," was his reply. And I agree. Listen to his perfect track for "Little Rug Bug." The words about a baby are great, too.
I love all the songs on this collection. "Our Hearts Were Meant To Beat As One" is one of my top choices for the "if you could have been at any recording session, what would it be" category. And check the punchline to see what "Lost In Space" is about. From great lyrics, indescribable music. These selections have them all. Apollo Up,
-- Tom Ardolino (the man who beats the traps for NRBQ) (Click here for more)
"The Bottomless Pit" hosted by Marshall Crenshaw airs SATURDAY NIGHTS from 10-11p, right after VIN SCELSA's long running "Idiot's Delight."