Original Format: MP3
They would lock me in and let me slooshy holy music by J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel, and I would read of these starry yahoodies tolchocking each other and then peeting their Hebrew vino and getting on to the bed with their wives’ like handmaidens, real horrorshow. That kept me going, brothers. I didn’t so much kopat the later part of the book, which is more like all preachy govoreeting than fighting and the old in-out. But one day the charles said to me, squeezing me like tight with his bolshy beefy rooker, “Ah 6655321, think on the divine suffering. Meditate on that, my boy.” And all the time he had this rich manny von of Scotch on him.
—Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
There’s a lot of ground to cover here, so let’s get to it.
Playlist after the jump.
The Rev. Hell Gets Confused (Part 1) Richard Hell
Eating a sandwich and getting a blowjob.
(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Gonna Go Curtis Mayfield
“Seven minutes of furnace-like funk, wah-wah guitar rasping like rattlesnakes underneath strings and horns blasting righteous reveries, as Mayfield runs down a shopping list of why every single one of us is as doomed as doomed can be. Those sins in brief: using pills and dope, ‘cat-calling, love-balling, fussing and cussing,’ though Curtis suspects we don’t even have to leave this mortal coil to find ourselves in hell, what with corrupt police on the streets and Nixon in the White House.” —Stevie Chick, The Guardian
You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth The Undisputed Truth
There was a time there in the early mid-70s when all the world’s wisdom could be found in soul music. I’m not sure what went wrong after that.
Ball of Confusion The Temptations
When this was recorded in 1970, one of the few things you could count on was that “The Beatles’ new record” would be “a gas”; but their next (and last) album was Let It Be, generally considered their weakest. (I don’t necessarily agree, but let’s not get into that right now.) In their 2004 cover the Neville Brothers changed it to “OutKast’s new record’s a gas”; OutKast released only one more album — the indifferently received Idlewild — before calling it quits. Is there a “Ball of Confusion” curse?
The Rev. Hell Gets Confused (Part 2) Richard Hell
Preaching is a heavy burden.
I’m Confused Handsome Furs
“Handsome Furs was a Montreal-based indie rock duo which consisted of Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry, who were married at the time. Boeckner is best known for his time in the bands Wolf Parade and Atlas Strategic. The band announced its breakup on May 17, 2012 via Facebook.” —Wikipedia
Love or Confusion The Jimi Hendrix Experience
No surprise there are so many songs about confusion; it is the human condition.
The Seeker The Who
“Quite loosely, ‘The Seeker’ was just a thing about what I call Divine Desperation, or just Desperation. And what it does to people…. We did it once at my home studio, then at IBC where we normally worked then with Kit Lambert producing. Then Kit had a tooth pulled, breaking his jaw, and we did it ourselves. The results are impressive. It sounded great in the mosquito-ridden swamp I made it up in Florida at three in the morning drunk out of my brain…. But that’s always where the trouble starts, in the swamp. The alligator turned into an elephant and finally stampeded itself to death on stages around England.”
For some reason, this strikes me as the 90s equivalent of “The Seeker.”
I’m Not Made of Iron Chrissy Zebby Tembo
Some Zambian psychedelia from the 70s. Listen to that scorching guitar tone.
A Man Key & Cleary
“In the early ’70s, Jessie Key and Sylvester Cleary – two passionate idealists living in Buffalo, New York – formed a close friendship based on a mutual mission to better their city. The Attica State Prison Riot of 1971 was a burning memory, and the Arthur vs. Nyquist lawsuit – brought against the City of Buffalo for creating and maintaining a racially segregated school system – was on the docket. Key was once a cotton-laborer in Mississippi, who journeyed north for school where he met his kindred spirit, Cleary. The two struck up an intense friendship, bought a drum machine and recorded their first 45, ‘A Man,’ a paean to self-actualization and Black American empowerment, which they custom pressed and issued privately.” —Rappcats.com
The Rev. Hell Gets Confused (Part 3) Richard Hell
God keeps fooling me.
Love Comes in Spurts Richard Hell & the Voidoids
“My facial expressions, speech, and gestures were the unprepossessing facade on a huge warehouse of hope to fuck.” —Richard Hell
Sacred Love Bad Brains
“H.R. tells me, ‘Man, we gotta get these vocals ’cause I got to go to jail tomorrow.’ What??? Now you’re telling me?! That’s why we had to do what we had to do with ‘Sacred Love….’ So, he’s in the D.C. lock-up, and… we got it set up where he could call me on a speciﬁc day and time, and he would be able to sing this song over the phone to New York…. We were supposed to have a direct patch from the phone into the tape, and I got there and it didn’t work. Of course, I was freaking out, so I improvised and did what we did in the old days, which was I took another phone and put it in the studio, and had an Auratone monitor. It’s like a small cube, five- or six-inch cube speaker. We taped that to the speaking portion of one of the analog telephones and put a sound blanket around it.” —Ron St. Germain, Bad Brains producer
Cult of Personality Living Colour
“A cult of personality, or cult of the leader, arises when a country’s regime — or, more rarely, an individual — uses the techniques of mass media, propaganda, the big lie, spectacle, the arts, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.” —Wikipedia
The Rev. Hell Gets Confused (Part 4) Richard Hell
I believe him.
I Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher) Al Green
For most people this would be a career highlight… for Al it’s his, like, 103rd best-known song. A groove as sticky as a porn theater floor.
Ride the Mighty High The Mighty Clouds of Joy
When this group was formed in 1961, “Mighty Clouds of Joy” was probably not a euphemism for anything. And the “Mighty High” is probably just spiritual uplift. You certainly don’t have to be high to enjoy this song. But it’s not gonna hurt, either.
The Rev. Hell Gets Confused (Part 5) Richard Hell
We must be as little children.
Satan Dynasty Killa 1 Divine Styler
“In the run-up to the release of his 1989 debut album, Word Power, Divine Styler was invited to play some of his tracks for Ice-T, whose Rhyme Syndicate imprint the Brooklyn-raised but Los Angeles-based MC and producer had signed to…. One of the songs he previewed that day, ‘Tongue Of Labyrinth,’ had an intro that involved a message to an embryo, the spiritual third eye, and a mix that prominently featured the sound of swirling helicopter blades…. ‘Ice-T just sat there with a blank look on his face,’ Divine Styler recalls with a deep laugh. ‘He was like, ”Oh, shit.” And that was it and he just drove off.’” —Phillip Mlynar
The Funky Gremlin Blues Explosion
I would like to live in a funky gremlin house.
The Rev. Hell Gets Confused (Part 6) Richard Hell
Cut the fucking organ.
If There’s a Heaven Above Love and Rockets
You may well have forgotten by now, but this is sort of where we came in. Throw the world off your shoulders tonight, Mr. Smith.