Friday, January 29, 2010

Cats vs Dogs: The Puppy Files

So the cats got their turn on Wednesday. The dogs have waited patiently.

Let's end this debate. It's time to release the hounds...

David Bowie - Diamond Dogs (Diamond Dogs, 1973)

"This ain't rock and roll...this is...GENOCIDE!" I don't need to add much more to get across the point that this is one of the most aggressive, most searing things that Bowie ever did.

Garbage - Dog's New Tricks (Garbage, 1995)

Some day soon I'll do a list of bands who put out one stupendously good album, then never followed it up with anything half so worth while. Garbage will be on the list. Dog's New Tricks isn't one of the stand-out tracks, unfortunately, but it does neatly sum up the dark, brooding feel of this mid-90s classic.

Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog (1952)

Although later made world famous by Elvis Presley, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote Hound Dog for Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton. It was her only true hit, and sparked not only a long series of cover versions, but also a number of retorts, not least the Bear Cat song featured here on Wednesday.

Soledad Brothers - Sons of Dogs (Voice of Treason, 2003)

The Soledad Brothers' third album saw them strip down their rock 'n' roll edge to return to a more languid blues sound. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than the country-blues Sons of Dogs.

The Beta Band - Dogs Got A Bone (The Three EPs, 1998)

So completely did Dry The Rain come to define The Three EPs and become most people's first and perhaps only impression of the Beta Band, its all too easy to overlook the rest of their debut. Dogs Got A Bone is one of those highlights. Originally released on the same EP as Dry The Rain, it shares a similar groove, albeit stripped right down.

The Obits - Talking To The Dog (I Blame You, 2009)

The Obits were credited with saving rock and roll before they'd even put out their first single. But a very healthy hype machine can't overshadow the fact their debut, I Blame You, is a raw but smart rocker. Talking To The Dog is one of the better tracks from a collection that includes a couple of belters but isn't quite strong enough to prove rock n rolls saviour just yet.

Vic Chestnutt - Bilocating Dog (Dark Developments, 2008)

Vic Chestnutt's death on Christmas Day has sparked another re-evaluation of his extensive and varied output. 2008's Dark Development was a collaboration with fellow Athens residents Elf Power and that lent Chestnutt a fresh sound to produce one of his more satisfying later albums. While Chestnutt was often dour, Elf Power's pop stylings give the album an uplifting feel.

The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges, 1969)

If one song could win this debate hands down for either side, the dogs would have it with the Stooges' 1969 classic. Featuring one of the all-time classic riffs, sneering vocals and a menacing one-fingered piano monologue, I Wanna Be Your Dog is one of the greatest rock n roll songs ever recorded.

Led Zeppelin - Black Dog (Led Zeppelin IV, 1971)

First the Stooges, now Led Zeppelin. It's clear that rock's Gods are siding with the dogs. The opening track from their masterpiece, Led Zeppelin IV, set the tone with a trademark power riff and bluesy styling.

Johnny Cash - Dirty Ol' Egg-Suckin' Dog (At Folsom Prison, 1968)

Cash introduced this as a "love song" to his audience of convicts at Folsom Prison. But it's not really a classic of that genre, even if you sense the dog is still his master's best friend either way. It's another song Cash selected because it was perfectly suited to his audience and his setting.

Cymbals Eat Guitars - What Dogs See (Why There Are Mountains, 2009)

One of the more low-key tracks from Cymbals Eat Guitars' acclaimed debut, What Dogs See is a dreamy introspection, all swirling guitars and barely audible lyrics. The conclusion, I guess, is that dogs don't see too much...

Seasick Steve - Dog House Boogie (Dog House Music, 2006)

Seasick Steve's second album was dedicated almost entirely to dogs. From the messy opener, Yellow Dog, to the closing story of him looking for his runaway dog after being arrested and jailed, it's an album that seems permanently at risk of collapsing in on itself. But it is held together, if just barely, by tracks like Dog House Boogie, in which Steve's love of the traditional blues shines through.

The Fratellis - Doginabag (Costello Music, 2007)

There was nothing massively sophisticated about the Fratelli's debut - it was just a hell of a lot of fun. But while they ripped it up on tracks like Henrietta and Chelsea Dagger, there was also a little more depth to the album, which came from the likes of this bluesy number.

The Be Good Tanyas - Dogsong AKA Sleep Dog Lullaby (Blue Horse, 2001)

The Be Good Tanyas have never released a song that is anything less than beautiful, and it is no surprise that a lullaby of theirs should be no exception. They obviously liked this one too, because they went back to record "Dogsong 2" and put it on their next album Chinatown.

Sparklehorse - Dog Door (It's A Wonderful Life, 2001)

It should be clear by now that dogs and the blues go closely together. And so the most bluesy, dark, imposing track from Sparklehorse's It's A Wonderful Life is Dog Door. Yes, that is Tom Waits you can here on vocals.

Green on Red - Hair of the Dog (Gas Food Lodging, 1985)

Quite simply the best thing Green on Red did. It might primarly be about being hungover, but there are enough actual dogs that get a menion for it to qualify here. Plus they howl. Say no more.

Alessi's Ark - The Dog (Notes From A Treehouse, 2009)

Alessi's dog helps her fall in love. Good boy.

Rufus Thomas - Walkin' The Dog (1963)

I'd dearly love to be able to put up the Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels take on this, but don't have it except on vinyl, and alas, I have not yet acquired the means. But its kind of fitting to sign off with Rufus Thomas after we had his Bear Cat on the Kitty Files on Wednesday. It's just a flat-out classic soul song.

1 comment:

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