Salty Dog – “Every Dog Has It’s Day” (1990)

Sweet little baby, she’s my hotdog bun.

Wait, what? What?? Did you just describe a woman as your “hotdog bun”?

Come along with me, just about a barrel of fun.

I’m not really sure I want to come along after that hotdog bun comment.

Gonna brush myself, once right across the hair,
Like Old Mother Hubbard, all of my cupboards been bare.

What the hell are you talking about? Nursery rhymes? Old Mother Hubbard would have slapped the taste from your mouth if she’d heard that hotdog bun comment.

Come on see, my door’s always open,
Even take a bus if you’re car’s broken,
Come along, come along.

So you want her to come see you, this hotdog bun woman, but if her car is broken you’re not going to give her a ride or anything, not even cab fare. Just take a bus, baby, and get over here. Classy.

And so opens Salty Dog’s 1990 debut album Every Dog Has It’s Day, with the song “Come Along”.

I have a confession. I loved this song when it came out. I’m not necessarily proud of that when I go back and read the lyrics, but damn it’s still a catchy jam, one of the last salvos of 80s sleaze rock before it was lit on fire and burned to the ground by grunge a year later. Call it whatever you want – hair metal, butt rock, glam… it’s what I cut my musical teeth on back in the 80s, and I still have a soft spot for it. Which is why I finally broke down and bought a copy of Every Dog Has It’s Day a few weeks back. I’d have bought it on vinyl, but it’s ridiculously expensive – you can find it reasonably priced from European sellers, but the overseas shipping has become pretty outrageous, and the only American seller I could find was asking 40 bucks for it. No thanks, I’ll just get the CD (2016 remastered on the Rock Candy label) for my trip down memory lane.

Salty Dog flamed out pretty quick – they pretty much disappeared after this album, with drugs being one of the main reasons. It was almost three decades before they put out another, 2018s Lost Treasure. The funny thing is that in reading the reviews for Lost Treasure I was surprised by how many bloggers confessed they loved Every Dog Has It’s Day. For a long time I thought I was the only one, since no one else seemed to remember Salty Dog.

As for me, I know I’ll be rocking this one in the car.

Omar Souleyman – “Shlon” (2019)

It seemed weird that Shlon made my year-end list as one of the Top 5 releases of 2019 even though I hadn’t written about it yet. It was mostly a timing thing – the album came out late in the year, and I was a bit later still in catching wind of it. But that’s an easy enough situation to rectify.

I first became aware of Omar Souleyman in 2013 when the Syrian musician was scheduled to play at Iceland Airwaves. There was something intriguing about the story of the wedding singer who found international fame later in life, a man who used electronics to blend traditional music with modern, an updating of Syrian dance music. His show at Harpa (below) didn’t disappoint – Souleyman had the crowd eating out of his hands and the entire set was one big party. I’ve been following him ever since.

 Copyright Life in the Vinyl Lane

With only six tracks, on the surface you might think Shlon is a bit short. But with five of the songs clocking in at 5+ minutes you still get about 35 minutes of mind-altering, hypnotizing music. I don’t know anything about dabke, but I know what I like when I hear it, and the blend of pulsing beats and the snake-like progression of the traditional instruments is captivating. The most intriguing track is also the one least like the others, the slow and simmering “Mawwal”, the vocals carrying a depth of emotion in the absence of beats.

I could list to Souleyman for days at a time, letting his music take me away to a completely different world…