Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Diversion: My New Bike

    After a brief internet search for quality affordable bicycles, I recently ventured across the border into the strange world of Tel Aviv in order to buy a new Trek 4300 mountain bike at CTC (http://www.ctc.co.il), the Israeli Trek importers. I must say that the staff were very professional, knowledgeable and helpful to their corpulent, bearded, kippah-clad customer. I was sold, fitted, adjusted and out of the door with my new bike within 45 minutes, including idle chatter. Although I have always owned road bikes and view springs and shock absorbers on bicycles as overweight frippery, I figured that a mountain bike would be a good choice in case I ever wanted to squeeze in a few more miswoth by actually going for an off-raod ride through the Judean hills or something. Besides, the cheapest road bike I could find was a Trek 1000, which cost 2,000 sheqels more than the 4300.

    After owning the bike for about six weeks, and cycling 15-20 km a day (well, "night" really - I tend to ride at about 2:00 AM), I decided to despense with all pretenses of off-road riding. I ordered a set of 26"x1.25" slicks from HaRim (http://shop.harim.co.il/default.php?language=en), ripped off the stone-crushers, and began happily zipping over the smooth asphalt of Ashqelon.

    After a cup of Turkish coffee, followed by a particularly pleasant ride with my mp3 player, I promised myself that I would publish a list of my favoite cycling songs. So, here they are:

    1. Amos Milburn - Down The Road A-Piece (Aladdin) 1946 (2:58)
    A wonderful, rollicking jump tune.
    2. Archies - Jingle Jangle (Kirshner 5002) 1970 (2:43)
    3. Archies - Sugar Sugar (Calendar 1008) 1969 (2:50)
    Bubblegum at its best.
    4. Arthur Alexander - Anna (Go To Him) (Dot 16387) 1962 (2:52)
    The original, later covered by a British group.
    5. Avantis - Keep On Dancing (Argo 5436) 1963 (1:51)
    The original, see the Gentrys.
    6. Bill Deal & The Rhondels - I've Been Hurt (Heritage 812) 1969 (2:12)
    7. Bill Deal & The Rhondels - May I (Heritage 803) 1969 (2:31)
    Great "beach" covers of the Tams and Maurice Williams, respectively.
    8. Billy Stewart - A Fat Boy Can Cry (Chess) 1965 (2:44)
    9. Billy Stewart - Count Me Out (Chess) 1965 (2:31)
    10. Billy Stewart - I'm No Romeo (Chess) 1965 (2:49)
    Almost anything by the fat boy is excellent.
    11. Bobby Fuller Four - I Fought The Law (Mustang) 1965 (2:18)
    Poor Bobby. Do you believe that he really drank that gasoline?
    12. Boyd Bennett & His Rockets - Seventeen (King 1470) 1955 (2:08)
    Great King rockabilly.
    13. Darlene Love - Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry (Philles 111) 1963 (2:48)
    Excellent alliteration with the Wall Of Sound.
    14. Derrick Morgan & Patsy Todd - Housewives Choice (Beverly's) 1961 (2:42)
    Ska to cycle by. Backed by the Skatalites.
    15. Don Covay & The Goodtimers - Pony Time (Arnold 1002) 1961 (4:47)
    The original version of the Chubby Checker hit.
    16. Drifters - Sweets For My Sweet (Atlantic) 1963 (2:29)
    One of Bert Berns' many, many cha-chas.
    17. Eddie Holland - Jamie (Motown 1021) 1961 (2:24)
    A cha-cha by Eddie Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame.
    18. Gentrys - Keep On Dancing (MGM 13379) 1965 (2:13)
    A cover of the Avantis -- but maybe better.
    19. Gladiolas - Little Darling (Excello 2101) 1955 (2:22)
    The original. Great drumming on the intro. The label says it's a calypso.
    20. Royals - Work With Me Annie (Federal 12169) 1954 (2:52)
    That's the Midnighters to you, bub.
    21. Hank Ballard & The Midnighters - Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go (King) 1960 (2:25)
    Good hill-climbing song.
    22. Harry Belafonte - Jump In Line (from "Jump Up Calypso" - RCA Victor 238) 1961 (3:43)
    Originally by someone called Atilla The Hun. Covered by Gary "U.S." Bonds as Twist Twist Senora.
    23. Justin Hinds & The Dominoes with Tommy McCook & His Band - Carry Go Bring Come (Duke Reid) 1963 (2:44)
    Rocking ska with a message. "Better to make a home on Mt. Zion high..." Yeah, mon.
    24. Kai Winding - Time Is On My Side (Verve 10307) 1963 (3:10)
    The original (believe it or not) by the Danish trombonist. Vocals by Dionne Warwick, her sister and aunt.
    25. Ken Boothe - Artibella (Studio One) 1965 (2:36)
    More rockin' ska with the Skatalites.
    26. Little Willie Littlefield - K.C. Lovin' (Federal 12110) 1952 (2:40)
    Original version of Kansas City with a heavy beat and slightly more earth lyrics. How Syd Nathan loved to cover his own songs!
    27. Lou Johnson - (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me (Big Hill 552) 1964 (3:18)
    Original version.
    28. Nappy Brown (with Howard Biggs Orchestra) - Pitter Patter (Savoy 1162) 1955 (2:03)
    29. Nappy Brown with Teacho Wilshire Orchestra - Open Up That Door (And Walk Right In My House) (Savoy 1187) 1956 (2:19)
    Nappy's great. The president of Savoy claimed that when he first heard Nappy sing, he thought he was singing in Yiddish.
    30. Nina Simone - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Philips PHM 200-148) 1964 (2:44)
    The orginal. A bit plodding, but nice.
    31. Orlons - Not Me (Cameo) 1963 (2:33)
    32. Orlons - Wah-Watusi (Cameo) 1962 (2:30)
    Can't beat Philly's Parkway-Cameo label for music with a beat.
    33. P.P. Arnold - The First Cut Is The Deepest (Immediate 41) 1967 (3:14)
    The original. Recorded in London. The composer wrote it for her. He later recorded it himself.
    34. Patty & The Emblems - Mixed Up Shook Up Girl (Herald 590) 1964 (2:09)
    More Philly music produced by Gamble & Huff.
    35. Redd Stewart & His Kentucky Colonels - Brother, Drop Dead (Boogie) (King 843) 1948 (2:27)
    One of my favorites. There's something very "cyclable" about this 1948 King hillbilly piece.
    36. Sammy Ambrose - This Diamond Ring (Musicor 1061) 1964 (2:29)
    The oringal version.
    37. Skatalites featuring Jackie Opel & Doreen Shaffer - The Vow (Studio One) 1965 (2:34)
    Anything by the Skatalites is great cycling music.
    38. Soul Brothers Six - Some Kind of Wonderful (Blue Rock) 1967 (2:44)
    39. Soul Brothers Six - You Gotta Come A Little Closer (Blue Rock) 1968 (2:44)
    Heavy rocking soul!
    40. Tams - Hey Girl Don't Bother Me (ABC-Paramount) (2:21)
    41. Tams - I Been Hurt (ABC-Paramount) (2:14)
    Shaggin' music for your bike.
    42. Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight (RCA Victor 47-7954) 1961 (2:39)
    The most popular of the zillion versions of this Zulu favorite, orignally recorded by Solomon Linda in 1938.
    43. Trini Lopez - If I Had A Hammer (Reprise 20,198) 1963 (3:01)
    The definitive version. Eat your bleeding leftist hearts out Pete and Woody!
    44. Weavers - Wimoweh (Decca 27928) 1950 (3:00)
    Speaking of Pete & Woody, they had a pretty big his with this in 1950, and never paid Solomon Linda a dime for it.
    45. Wynonie Harris - Good Rockin' Tonight (King) 1948 (2:48)
    Great cover of Roy Brown's original.