Music On The Road / The Tubes and Lulu

I have an online CD friend who occasionally sends me some music CDs to check out. One of her best picks was the first album from The Tubes. I had to do a long road trip a while back and that was definitely one of the many music CDs I brought along. Of course musical taste is such a personal thing so feel free to skip this one if it’s not working for you.

I’d never actually heard the first album from The Tubes all the way through though I knew some of it. The opening track, “Up From The Deep,” has all these weird time signature changes that must be incredibly hard to play. They’re great musicians and I’ve always been impressed by how high Fee Waybill can sing with that clear tenor voice of his.

The one track I somehow didn’t notice at first was “Mondo Bondage.” I wasn’t really paying attention to the lyrics and had forgotten the title until the third or fourth listening. Pretty silly stuff.

I could run away to spain
But I’d just get tied again
I could run off to jamaica
If this bondage I could breaka

I remember first hearing about The Tubes from my older brother, who had a wider taste in music than I did at the time. We especially listened a lot to their “Remote Control” album when it came out in ’79, produced by Todd Rundgren. I still really like it, with some very catchy disco-influenced sounds, but it’s also incredibly melancholy, part of the reason it appealed to me as a confused and miserable teenager. Good stuff.

And to completely shift gears, my friend also sent me another compilation of favorite songs on CD, including Lulu’s “To Sir, With Love,” which I have to agree is another favorite since hearing it again a few years ago, even if it’s not the least bit cool. Fun side note, apparently Lulu dated David Bowie briefly when they were both young and, well, she likewise never felt cool enough being with him. He reportedly suggested that she could lose some weight to have more of a “heroin chic” look, but said it in a charming way that wasn’t judgmental, just a helpful observation. Apparently they stayed friends for years. In any case her voice is amazing, as well as her stage presence and just how she moves and emotes. Lovely and still going strong at age 72.