It seemed like a good idea in the meeting ...
88. Sonny Hopson
Original 1969 Philadelphia AM Radio Broadcast / Philly Archives, 2000
Sonny Hopson, aka the Mighty Burner, was a finger-poppin' DJ on WHAT-AM with a distinctive sound and personality. He delightfully violated all the standard disc jockey rules. He talked through and over records, sang along with every song (often louder than the artist) and commented on news and social issues whenever the spirit moved him. This CD of a 1969 Sonny Hopson show captures Philadelphia black radio in the raw. It's all included--the commercials, the news reports, and of course lots and lots of the Mighty Burner doing his thing. There was a time when Philadelphia radio employed on-air artists as gifted as the people they promoted, and the proof is on this CD.
South Street / Cameo-Parkway, 1963
The Orlons were three-hit wonders--"The Wah Watusi," "Don't Hang Up" and the unforgettable "South Street." For the lyrics to "South Street" alone they deserve immortality: "Where do all the hippest meet? (South Street, South Street)/ Where the dancin' is elite (South Street, South Street)/ Side by side we're loose and neat/ When we're stompin' down the street/ Hurry down, baby she's the hippest street in town! (Oh, baby)."
90. Bigger Lovers
Honey in the Hive / Yep Roc, 2002
This Yep Roc release--from singer/guitarist Bret Tobias, guitarist Ed Hogarty, bassist Scott Jefferson and drummer (and PW contributor) Patrick Berkery--was preceded by the indie release How I Learned to Stop Worrying, which some critics say is the stronger record. But Honey in the Hive easily cruised by the sophomore slump and further honed the band's upbeat but thoughtful brand of power pop. Hive neatly balances the melodic grace of classic rock with the hard hooks of modern rock--and keeps it all real with a gritty yet totally natural alternative edge.
91. Urge Overkill
Saturation / Geffen, 1993
This is the breakthrough album from the band that would later score a contributing vocal spot from the mayor of Conshohocken. Saturation's single "Sister Havana"--with its crunchy power chords, inscrutable lyrics ("Every day's just like a vacation with you/ When I'm watching you and Fidel Castro in the sand, kissing") and baked-in summertime bliss--gave UO its first seven or so minutes of fame. (The remaining eight, of course, came from the band's cover of "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.) Played today, Saturation sounds like a classic early-Clinton-era collection of late-grunge singles, a musical indicator of the carefree, opulent years to come. It would be a solid 10 years before rock got this danceable again.
92. Thunder and Roses
King of the Black Sunrise / Lizard, 1969
Recorded at a time when prehistoric rock critics were bemoaning Blue Cheer's use of volume over musicianship (but isn't that what rock's all about?), Thunder and Roses firmly inserted themselves into the Cheer's orbit with a late-'60s oh-so-heavy slab of vinyl that was anchored by a Philadelphia rhythm section and recorded at Sigma Sound. An early decoder to the glories of the power trio.
Calendar: Aug. 26-Sept. 2