My Top 1000 Songs #573: Omaha

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

For all my love of the Grateful Dead, there's no denying that the finest studio album to come out of San Francisco's Summer of Love '67 was Moby Grape's self-titled debut. Wall-to-wall classics, ranging from pop to rock to bluegrass, a similar stew worked by the Dead and Jefferson Airplane, but with more durable originals and wide-ranging styles. Lots of favorites there, but something about "Omaha," contributed by the band's acid casualty Skip Spence, has always stood out. There's not a lot to the song, just that catchy riff and the repeated "listen, my friends!" call-to-arms, but there's a reckless abandon that forms a straight line from that era's garage rock to the proto-punk of the 70s.

Plus, a really nifty cover version came out when I was in college from the Golden Palominos, with Michael Stipe on vocals, right as my obsession with R.E.M. was solidifying, so that's always given the song an emotional boost for me.

Golden Palominos cover, with Michael Stipe (1985):