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December 2006
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February 2007

More iPod-Inspired Feminist Ponderings

77allmanandwoman_sOh dear January, where have you gone. My lame excuses for my blog absences include: a bad cold I caught while making a five-hour drive to find out if my little 2-year old dog friend, Edgar, would like the snow in Mammoth, California; getting bogged down with cleaning my office; and a new job offer. I’m just now getting into the swing of things again with Ape Culture, I Found Some Blog and Cher Scholar. In the meantime, lots of Cher news has gone by my desk. Malibu caught on fire, (Cher’s house was spared, Suzanne Somers’ wasn’t), Cher sold a Palm Springs house, war protests, and yahoo fan posts about Cher pics in The Tabloid That Shall Not Be Named. Were they doctored photos? Also, there were rumblings about what may be going on with Cher headlining in Vegas is 2008? I also just got my new Deadsy CD in the mail. So many things to write about.

Today, I checked the official fan club and it’s still in lock down. I’ve been attempting to join since October 15 of last year (without bothering to email anybody at the site, mind you). I wonder if they are beyond having technical issues with the site. I did read their pretty extensive legal Terms and Conditions a while back. Maybe the issue is one of a legal nature. Or maybe they’re having issues with their Official status. I haven’t heard any news about the situation on the fan posts. Hmmm. It’s a mystery for this lazy detective.

Mansworld_1 As I was loading all my Cher songs onto my iPod this month (584 Cher songs out of 2951), I did stop to ponder the feminist juxtaposition of two album covers, the cover for Allman & Woman’s Two the Hard Way (1977) and Cher’s It’s a Man’s World (1996) almost 20 years later. The first cover would make feminist cringe and the other would cheer them up a bit. We go from a Surrendered Wife looking pose to something calmly empowering yet defiantly feminine. The Man’s World photo alludes to the power of Eve and the power of women, a subject covered in the James Brown (RIP) It’s a Man’s World title track. A pretty swell evolution... of sorts.

No Respect

BonographI’ve been talking a lot about Cher getting her due respect in the rock community; but as I was uploading all my CDs into my iPod, I came across the 1991 Sonny Bono tribute album Bonograph and it occurred to me something needed to be said about Sonny Bono and the respect he's never received for some of his better songs. He did write his share of duds and chucklers – really dated material with dorky 60s hipster lyrics. Some more painfully off the mark than others. But he also wrote some clean, moving extended metaphors. I wrote about his whole western motif in the first Cher zine. So I’m glad this CD was made although it’s full of bands that never came to much.

Needles and Pins by Flat Due Jets – Is not quite what I want from the song. The Searchers version was irritatingly happy. Cher's cover sings it with bass and pathos. The Ramone's sing it like The Searchers – with that crazy "pinzah" word – but Joey Ramone also taps into something he Searchers don’t – the misery of the song – Cher and Joey Ramone get it.

Laugh at Me – tortured but messy even in Sonny's version. Otis Ball improves it a bit and ends with a rockin ode to I Got You Babe.

Baby Don’t Go by Charlie Chestermann and The Harmony Rockets – I really like the Sheryl Crow/Dwight Yoakam remake of this – a song I’ve never really liked. This remake is a whiny, harmonica-laden version.

Koko Joe by Ben Vaughn – This is quite an impressive early dig-out that pre-dates Cher. It sounds very dated but interesting in it’s reinterpretation.

Bang Bang by The Frampton Brothers – a silly remake. Lots of covers have been made of this song, including haunting versions by Nancy Sinatra and Stevie Wonder.

Magic in the Air by The Wishniaks – Some these songs are one-step more deadpan than Cher’s renditions if that is even conceivable.

The Beat Goes On -  This is actually a fun boppin version by The Spuds. A cute sax part runs through it. Sure makes Britney Spears' version sound like a dud. It’s no Herbie Mann, however. Check out iTunes for that.

Our Last Show by Scott McCaughey – better than Sonny’s version. More touching for some reason. You could almost see Gwen Stefani singing it, too.

I Got You Babe – Have you heard The Dictator’s version? I’m sure you’ve heard Cher’s own remake with Beevis and Butthead. Tiny Tim, Etta James, UB40 with Chrissie Hynde? This is the The Cynics take on it. Yeah… I’ve never really heard a bad version.

My Best Friend’s Girl is Out of Sight by Agitpop– This song isn’t a horrible as it sounds like it might be. The original or the cover.

It’s the Little Things by The Skeletons – The best cover in the set. They really bring the song to life.

I Look For You by Peter Holsapple – a deep catalog choice and a nice track with a good contemplative guitar.

You Better Sit Down Kids by What Else – Ick. Trying too hard to not try too hard. This is the only one I fast forward through.

I Just Sit There by Young Fresh Fellows – Sonny trying to be Psychedelic? Young Fresh Fellows make it work. At 10 minutes I think this song is almost 3 minutes shorter than the original. There’s the funny coffee outro, as well.

It’s Gonna Rain by Pink Slip Daddy – This was almost the single instead of I Got You Babe? I can never quite believe it. The song sounds so dated these days. This version is long and repetitive. And Pink Slip Daddy can’t match the funkitude of Sonny & Cher’s old version.

Pammie’s On a Bummer – by The Jimmy Silva Sextet – Headache-inducing intro, outro and everything elso. This song would be a challenge to improve.

Sonny’s message on the liner notes make me wonder if he wasn’t worried these artists were making fun of him with this tribute. He's so reserved. I don’t think they were, however. There are not, for the most part, kitschy versions. But it is interesting to see how Sonny is always saddled with an association to Cher. Even this CD’s subtitle references her: “Sonny Gets His Share.” Very punny. I miss some of his better, 70s material: ‘Classified 1A,” “Somebody,” and the best of all – “A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done.”