by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Photo by Aurelia Frey -
by Aurélia Frey

French Quarter - "Stay". Stay in my bed. Keep y--rself warm. No h--- or ---st, ---ven no --- will take me from your solitude. Stay in my bed -nd grow an-ther branch. No tug -f war or devil head w-ll pull me from your touch. Oo-oo. Stay in my bed and sleep anothe- sea. No ocean pull or ---ly tide will take you fro- my side. Stay here. Don't stray aw-y. And if you do, know I'll w---- why. I don't want -- keep you; I just want you to st--. Oo-oo. Oo-oo. Oo---. O----. -----. .. .    .   .

[MySpace / this band is on tour in Arizona, California and Washington state / (thanks sara.)]

Marshall Crenshaw - "You're My Favorite Waste Of Time". "You're My Favourite Waste of Time" was, as I explained, my first favourite song, ever, in my whole life. It was not this version of "Waste of Time" mind you. It was a version by Owen Paul, now lost in the sands of time. I had never heard this, the original, until Amy sent it to me earlier this week. It's great, isn't it? It's almost definitely better than the Paul recording. But would it have caught my fancy, when I was four? At age four I probably didn't even know what "wasting time" meant, preferring the verb "to play". And certainly I was only just getting enamoured with the idea of love. So as Crenshaw's band smashes, jangles and tambourine-shakes, I imagine four-year-old Sean would have been intimidated, if not outright terrified, by Crenshaw's zeal. There's something too forceful in the bass-drum, something too daunting in a solo which requires the introduction of "Hit it!" Imagine loving someone so much that you sing this song to them in all it's smiling, full-voice cheer! Imagine being able to call them "mine" and knowing they'll hug you back, unfazed! Imagine someone else actually being your favourite waste of time! Better than Lego, better than cake, better than watching the Penguin Parade at the Edinburgh Zoo. Sounds crazy to me. (No it doesn't.)



Okkervil River's Daytrotter Session includes a solo Will Sheff recording of Jimmy Webb's "Do What You Gotta Do". It's compelling, but large parts of me are still disappointed it borrows from Nina Simone's meandering rendition instead of the straight-ahead (and heartbreaking) melodicism of Roberta Flack's, or more recently Meg Baird's cover.

Posted by Sean at November 23, 2007 8:00 AM

I'd never heard this until now, but immediate view is bpm too low and percussion too intrusive to be the hit thet may home-towner had in the UK.
Good song though.
What happened at the end of the track on the mp3?

Posted by derek at November 23, 2007 7:46 PM

that marshall crenshaw song was once cited by my friend plasket as his favorite sounding recording ever.

Posted by dan at November 24, 2007 12:30 PM

That's not a glitch in the MP3—That's how the track is supposed to end, in a wash of messed-up musique-concrete tape garble.

Crenshaw recorded most of his early stuff in a home studio, with whatever equipment was to hand, and his percussion tracks were usually composed of miscellaneous shakers and crockery, rather than a proper drumkit—he used to get his kick-drum sound by wrapping a rag around a microphone and tapping it with a ball-point pen.

In a sense, he was one of the originators of the lo-fi movement (though he had far more craft than most of those who later took up the banner); the oddness of the sound and the crudity of the mixing were part of the charm.

Posted by Jack Fear at November 25, 2007 12:57 PM

Whilst no embittered cynic when it comes to matters of the heart, i would contest that *anything* is better than watching the Penguin Parade at Edinburgh Zoo.

Posted by sophie at November 25, 2007 6:39 PM

I would guess that this production, fades, harmonies, in and out volume and insistent rhythm section with a frequent pedal point e,
Should be thought of as a hat tip-acknowldgement/ tribute to George Martin/Sgt Pepper/Beatles

I rather like this version, I like Marshall, and I remember ASTAGAFA was the best bar band I saw in 74-75. Marshall had it together then.

Posted by myles at November 25, 2007 10:28 PM

The Beatles thing is obvious, and he'd agree completely with that, Myles. I remember an interview with Marshall where he talked about writing that song walking around backstage at a production of "Beatlemania." (He was playing John, of course.)

You may go the rest of your life without finding a bigger Marshall Crenshaw fan than me. His recording methods may have been slapdash, but his songcraft was impeccable, and the guy can play the living daylights out of his guitar.

Posted by Tony at November 28, 2007 1:32 PM

I have 2 versions of this song by MC - one is his 1979 demo version from the "9 Volt Years" album. He explains: "when I did this demo, I wanted the beginning to sound like the bass drum break on The Best Part of Breaking Up by the Ronettes. During the early '70s, at a time when I worked at a snowmobile factory and smoked pot all day long, I ussed to listen to Phil Spector singles obsessively".

Posted by Gerry at December 5, 2007 10:55 AM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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