Monday, September 15, 2014



At the risk of sounding like a broken record (pun intended), I have been losing interest in blogging over the last several months.

The last few BOTB posts had been scheduled quite a while ago, and I toyed with not participating this week (too much time in front of a computer at the office to want to spend more time in front of one at home), but I wanted to at least get a post here that would explain an absence.

Most of you reading post as part of a writing community, and gather support from each other-I pretty much do this for the helluvit, and as I have posted several times during this year, the thrill is waning.

It hit me this morning (I am typing this on Saturday the 13th), that this marks a year for my participation in BOTB, and I thought why mark the occasion with the song that kind of represents the beginning of a lifelong obsession with music?

So for what may be (I said may-it ain't just a woman's perogative to change her mind, so ne dis jamais jamais) a final BOTB entry, I'm going to take you back to where it all began.

As I have often said on these pages and in my comments to other BOTB participants, the first record I ever purchased was Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five

I am guessing it would have been sometime during the month of October 1971, as I had to save up my allowance for almost two months (I was still a few months away from lying about my age to take over a paper route from my friend), and the cartoon featuring the Jackson Five premiered on September 11, 1971*.

*Interesting trivia-thirty years later to the day, a (possibly government-sponsored) terrorist attack on NYC demolished one of my favorite CD haunts, J&R Music World (I had just been there the Saturday before).

The theme to the Jackson Five cartoon was actually a medley of different songs, but I did not know that yet.

That first album opens with the song "I Want You Back," which is, of course featured in the medley, but I remember my confusion over the difference.

I remember some cereal having plastic records on the back of the box, one of which may have been the theme-I had one or two of those and am sure I wore out the fragile grooves. 

I am not sure that that little tidbit is relevant to anyone but me, but hey, it's my keyboard-you could have skipped that paragraph if you wanted to.

Here, then, is that first track from that first record.

You now get to relive that moment with me....imagine yourself as a ten year old, slowly letting the needle fall on your new purchase...

That was the decade wore on, while I never abandoned my love of the Motown sound, my taste branched out, and by 1979, I was a fan of the 'new wave' bands that cultivated the punk rock edge with (in my opinion) better musicianship and songwriting.

One of these artists was Graham Parker And The Rumor, accused of being an Elvis Costello clone by the press, even though they had two records on the shelves before Elvis went into the studio.

Their best selling and most critically acclaimed record was Squeezing Out Sparks, which featured the single "Local Girls."

In what was becoming a trend in the music business (to sell you both the album and the singles), the 45 featured a non-album cut and was housed in a picture sleeve.

I still have it-and here's what it looks like:

Mine shows a little more wear, however.

I did not know until I played the B-side that GP was covering the Jackson Five.

Here is how that one goes.

You know how this works.

Feel free to vote (or not) in the comments section.

And make sure you venture over to the other sites that are featuring this topic today:

The founders:

Far Away Series


Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose

And those who came after:

Curious As A Cathy

Mike's Ramblings

The Creative Outlet of Stratplayer

The Sound Of One Hand Typing

Apologies if I missed anyone-I know Donna Hole was also participating but the link I had for her blog was no longer active. 

Anyone else I missed, what can I tell ya? 

I have a head like a sieve.


  1. Well Larry, I hope you stick around. I always like your musical selections, especially now that we've moved away from the Todd-athon ;)

    But this is an easy choice for me -- the Jackson Five has much more energy and is THE version of this song. I also smile when I hear how hard the old stereo mix is -- drums hard in one channel with the rhythm guitar, lead vocal hard in the other channel, etc.

    Also -- I remember those those cardboard/plastic records from the cereal boxes! I distinctly remember cutting out the Archies "Sugar Sugar" (which fitted perfectly for breakfast cereal made for kids).

    1. Chris- it's a shame neither of us saved those cereal box records-they're collectible, expecially if they are still on the box (what kid would have not cut it out and played it, though?).

  2. Parker and his boys do a fine cover, but my vote goes to the Jacksons. I like the sound of the guitar, drums, and bass better in their version.

    Hope you get your blogging mojo back.

    Tossing It Out

    1. I like both for different reasons-Parker gives the song a bit of an edge, but the J5 version projects an innocence that takes me back to that grade school crush I had when this song came out.

  3. I'm participating today!
    I like Parker's version, although the first one is icon now.
    My first two years of blogging, my following was eclectic and I liked the variety. The IWSG launch three years ago changed that. I know how you feel and would like to find variety blogs again.

    1. I think the other difference, Alex, is that your blog has a distinct mission to it, where as the "mission" I had when I started out has been pretty much sidelined by changes in the music industry.

      There is simply no need for someone to seek out a blog like this to discover new music, and in fact, most people do not purchase music anymore.

      I've kept at it because it interested me, but as the Arizona weather starts to break, the last thing I want to do is spend more time indoors in front of a computer.

      I never say never-I've felt like this a few times before and found some renewed interest, but the interest seems to fade more quickly. I still plan to read and comment-just do not know how much posting will be forthcoming.

  4. To echo everyone else, I like Parker's version, but I think the overall arrangement of the original is stronger. So another vote for the Jackson Five.

    Also might I add that I think people do still read music blogs and buy music, and I think those that do are searching for undiscovered/up and coming Indie artists. I know I've found a lot of great music that way, and the blogs I've used to find them seem to have moderately decent traffic. I daresay 75% of the music I've bought as of late (Indie rock) has been the result of finds on music blogs.

    1. Interesting, Bryan-I wonder how those blogs generate their traffic.

      I still find out about most of my new finds the old fashioned way-print media (Relix, Goldmine, Rolling Stone, Billboard and Prog), the best two sources being Prog (for progressive rock if it was not obvious) and Relix.

    2. I find that with the Indie scene it's very much a community. The artists, since they're not big and famous, are much more accessible, and more willing to work with people to get their names out, so the bloggers and the artists scratch each other's backs by promoting one another - the blogger puts up an entire post devoted to the artist, maybe even featuring an interview, with links to get their album, and in turn the artist puts up on their website/Facebook, "Hey, check out the blog that featured us this week." After a few months of doing that regularly, it's only a matter of time before those (like me) looking for current and previously unheard-of music start flocking to that type of blog on the regular to see who's going to be featured.

      Back when we were going to make one of our novels into an Indie film, before the director flaked out, we did this with a pretty big local band. We told them we'd love to have them do the soundtrack for the movie. In exchange, we'd promote them via the blog and the movie. They said they'd love to, and gave us a shout-out on Facebook that led to some more local readers. It's a shame that the movie never panned out because I think it would have helped both us and the band immensely.

    3. It's funny-I have tried to pitch that with a couple of local bands that a club here in Tempe has open for label acts, but they never followed through with getting me their music.

      The music biz has changed so much the last dozen years-it's come full circle where, except for a select few, the money is in performing.

      When I was young the purpose of the tour was to promote an album.

      Before recorded music, all there was was the live performance...

  5. LC ~
    I didn't recognize the song title but the second the song started playing I knew it well.

    Sacrilegious to some maybe but Michael Jackson's high voice starts to wear on me after awhile, although I do generally like the song.

    I was never a Graham Parker fan at all - not even enough to buy a single LP back in the "Licorice Pizza" era. In fact, I even recall one time borrowing 'Squeezing Out Sparks' from you and played it on one of those Saturdays when I was working at Cigna's "The Grave". It didn't impress me much.

    And that's why I did not expect to like Graham Parker's version of 'I Want You Back' at all, but in fact I did like it. He even gives The J 5 a pretty good run for their money on this one. In the end though, I'll have to side with that "Long ago sound of Innocence" you referred to and give my vote to The 5.

    Funny... for awhile I closed my eyes while listening to Parker sing, and you know what? If I didn't know better, I probably WOULD HAVE thought I was listening to Elvis Costello! Very similar vocal sound and phrasing.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Local American Underground'

    1. You can't deny the similarity, but since GP beat EC to the recording studio, accusing him of being a copy was a stretch. For whatever reason, EC became more popular...

      If you didn't like "Sparks," I doubt you'd like anything else by GP (although he does do a country-flavored album).

      He's kept the "angry young man" persona, although he is well into his 60' he still has some biting lyrics.

  6. I'm going to go with Graham Parker's remake on this one, if only because I was pretty well sick of the original a month after it first hit the airwaves. Bad eighth grade flashback...

    John Holton
    The Sound Of One Hand Typing

    1. John-

      I have always listened so little to radio that it's rare that radio ruins songs for me (although I never need to hear anything from Sheryl Crow's debut or Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill ever again).

      This one is pure nostalgia for me...

  7. The J5 version is a classic. The cover ain't bad. But you don't beat classic with ain't bad. J5 wins, but it was nice to understand the words for a change.

    1. Graham Parker has quite a few soul covers in his catalog-definitely influenced by R&B.

  8. I really like the cover version, but I think it's just an iota too laidback for my liking. And I also think I'm in the "can't go past the classic" camp. I am a huge Michael Jackson fan and obviously the Jackson 5 are classic as well.

    1. Trisha-

      Having started my life as a music fan with the Jackson 5, and being similar in age to the young Michael, it really saddened me the turn his life took beginning in the late 70's.

      This song brings me back not just to a time when I was more innocent, but when the artist was more innocent as well.

      I'm not sure Graham Parker was ever innocent-I think he sprang from the womb an angry young man!

  9. I'm not going to lie, I love music simply because the way it moves me. I love the sound of Motown! And, I loved how J5 moved me to dance then and now! You had me dancing across the kitchen floor this morning to get my second cup of coffee. GP's cover wasn't bad, wasn't bad at all, but J5 is such a classic group that they steal my vote no question about it! Thanks for getting me moving! ;)

    1. You don't have to sell me on Motown, Cathy-I think everyone should own a good Jackson Five anthology or their first four albums (this one, ABC, Third Album, Maybe Tomorrow).

      Classics all!

  10. My vote is for the Jackson Five version. Its the original and a classic. That being said I really enjoyed Graham Parker's version.

    1. Hard to argue with the Jackson 5, Mike.

    2. He'y Larry, I hope you don't quit, at least not BOTB. I've learned a lot from your posts and even been exposed to some 'new' music. But, I also say, 'I hear you loud and clear'. About all I post is BOTB anymore. so many things about blogging have changed, at least for me.

      Anyway...this is probably y favorite post of yours. I'm not familiar with the Jackson Five Cartoon - never been much of a television addict, but I was right there with you in your childhood (although I don't want to tl you where I was, or what I was doing in 1971).

      I have always enjoyed the Motown sound and remember many of the tunes as favorites at the 'basement parties' of my HS years. Never been a serious Jackson (either the Five or Michael) fan, but I seriously doubt that anybody could cover their music and elicit the same response ( I literally had to get up out of my chair and dance). so cunt my vote for Michael and his brothers and a real pleasure taking this troll down memory lane with you.

    3. Glad to be your tour guide! I was actually a little surprised how many people admit to liking the J5-I took a lot of grief for it over the years...

  11. This turned out to be a hard vote. I expected to hate the cover, but I didn't. I rather liked it. And, like someone already said, it was nice to understand the words for a change! Hahahaha! I am too young for nostalgia to factor in here. I was a toddler when this came out and don't have any memories to give to it.

    So, throw up one surprised vote for Graham Parker. I can understand him and he sounds old enough to actually want someone back.... :)

    1. Both versions bring an interesting perspective-the innocence of the Jackson's version contrasted with the sense of actual loss that comes through in Parker's version.

      I love 'em both!

  12. Oh... you are not the only one struggling with blogging. It has felt like a chore, of late, to me, too. I am working so hard on my novel and there is just so much time you want to park in front of the computer. Blogging feels forced and... like work. Bah. Plus, it will be getting cooler here soon and there is gardening aplenty that needs doing.

    So, take the breathing space you need. Chances are that you will feel inspired again... eventually. Your friends would miss you if you just Quit. I say this as your friend...

    1. Appreciate the thoughts and sentiment, Robin (I feel the same)-I still plan to visit blogs, but am not going to feel obliged to post anything on mine (will try to psych myself up for the BOTB posts)-last weeks'a was an effort, as I'd had some OT at work (more time in front of a computer), and by the time it got to Sunday, I had not done a BOTB post and had to force myself to do it.

      You said it-it felt like work.

  13. Hi Larry -

    I always learn something reading your blog posts. This was no exception: I had no idea GP covered this song. I liked his version quite a bit, too.

    However, I feel as most others here do: the Jackson Five song was iconic. It cannot be replaced, and everyone knows and loves it. So, I feel I can do nothing but vote for the Jacksons in this case.

    1. Back in 1979, my holy grail was the 33 1/3 promotional record with GP's "Mercury Poisoning" on one side and this song on the other. I think it was going for $25, a princely sum for me in those days.

      When I found the 45 with this as a B-side for under $10, I jumped on it (remember an album was only $5 or $6 in those days).