Why Shrag aren’t one of the world’s most popular bands is beyond me. “Life! Death! Prizes!,” their second full-length on Where It’s At Is Where You Are Records features the same kind of upbeat tunes as those on their first, self-titled, lp, which was one of my favorites of last year.

Songwriting — Paul Weller-and-the-Jam-style poems about everyday life — is their greatest strength.  And now their line-up features two girls and three guys, just like the B-5s2s once did.

I guess they’re just a little too smart, a little too funny, and maybe a little too British for the American mainstream. Just as well though, since if they got really popular I’d start to feel really guilty about liking them so much.


Loving this new collection of ’50s and ’60s soul compiled by Keb Darge and Paul Weller.

I’m not quite sure about the “lost” part — I doubt that it’s true to say that any of the tracks here were really ever totally lost, at least not to true fans (which would include of course Darge and Weller themselves).  But certainly they’re all at least somewhat obscure, and the two curators have done a great job of bringing them back to light and sequencing them nicely on the cd.

My personal favorites: Emmitt Long’s “Call Me,” Margie Joseph’s “One More Chance,” The Flirtations’ “Stronger Than Her Love,” and, especially, Tammi Terrell’s “All I Do Is Think About You.” That last one, composed by Stevie Wonder and originally recorded in 1966, features an incredibly beautiful, absolutely perfect vocal performance by Ms. Terrell and most definitely stands as an underappreciated Motown classic.