Lions and Dogs – demos (198?)

It all started like this.  In the late ’90s I became a slightly belated super-fan of a 1992 album, Topeka Oratorio, put out by a couple of Midwestern-ers who incorporated themselves as The LeatherwoodsTopeka was sadly a one-album-wonder, chock full of power pop melodies, and humble yet smart daily observations on romance and the like.  Paul Westerberg guested on a few songs (under the assumed moniker of Pablo Louseorama), and coincidentally or not, Topeka Oratorio‘s overarching, lived-in tact resembled that of All Shook Down era-Replacements.  The record’s architects were Todd Newman and Tim O’Reagan, the latter of whom had a hand in The Jayhawks. Devastatingly good stuff, and I was desperate to hear more.

Thing is, there would be no more, save for something miraculous like a reunion (low potential at that I suppose).  Around the time I discovered The Leatherwoods, the net was still in it’s relative infancy, but low and behold my  trusty AltaVista search engine pointed me to an article on the duo, wherein I learned of a predecessor to the ‘woods, Lions and Dogs.  I’d direct you to the piece if it was still available.  Lions and Dogs was partially the handiwork of Todd Newman, their principal frontman.  Sometimes operating as a quartet, at others a trio, Lions and Dogs were not unlike the Leatherwoods – an earnest, low-profile collective who had an inkling of what was gestating due northeast in Minneapolis, but also possessed an ear for the rockier hues of Americana.   There would be no formal L&D releases, but the song “Be My Something” was comped on two occasions.  I’m presenting it here with about sixteen more demos and select live cuts, including prototypes for a few tunes that would be hammered out in Todd’s subsequent outfit, the Leatherwoods (i.e. “Tell Me Another” “Jamboree,” and “Don’t Back Down on Me”).  Among several inspired originals, there’s a very sweet live take of Josie Cotton’s “No Pictures of Dad” and a heartfelt interpretation of Big Star’s “What’s Goin’ Ahn.”  I don’t have the running order for any of these songs, but in the folder is a Word doc with song-by-song liner notes.  You can read about one of Lions and Dog’s relatives, Psychic Archie here, and check out two of Todd Newman’s solo endeavors over yonder.

Be My Something
Chippewa Love Stomp
C’mon Bess Armstrong
Dear Anyone
Don’t Back Down on Me
God Loves the Beach Boys
Kill Myself for Christmas
New Year
No Pictures of Dad (live)
On the Waterfront
Stupid Enough
Tell Me Another
To Win Her Back
Top of My Head
What’s Goin’ Ahn
Winner Runs Alone (live)
Wish I Had

Articles Origin: Lions and Dogs – demos (198?)


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