Saturday, March 27, 2010

Neglected Albums of the Week #3

Started Fri aft w/ 2 trax from Gong's YOU (1974), sorta 1 last chance B4 I take the album 2 the big trade-in record store in the sky.
"Master Builder" has some nice gruff sax by Didier Mahlerbe, & "A Sprinkling of Clouds" has some nice synth from Tim Blake, good guitar riffage from Steve Hillage, & later some pleasantly airy Mahlerbe flute. But the rest is just sorta directionless jamming, tho it does build-up some in10sity. The actual tuneage is a little thin, diffuse, elusive -- & tho I've tried 2 hear it, what's here just isn't ENUF, somehow, & the cluttered production & thick mix doesn't help. There's a lot going on w/ this ensemble, & I can't hear enuf of it. & the vocals R still dumb.
So, after 2 yrs & lotsa plays, my verdict is: OK music 4 waking-up or folding the laundry. Otherwise.... YOU will B traded-off soon unless some1 out there wants it. & U can have my card as a 4mer on-the-edge music-listening-guy w/ it, I guess....
Moving then slowly, ponderously, w/ interruptions, on my way 2 this wk's obvious choice 4 Neglected Album of the Week....
Canadian folksinger Bruce Cockburn has an un4tun8 last name (it's pronounced Co-burn), but RESUME (1981, which is, of course, pronounced re-zoom-ay, best I can do w/ this silly laptop, can't do an accent over the E w/o Nding-up in some other dimension) is a pretty solid+ 9-track best-of collection of summa Bruce's earlier work, from the 4 albums that were released in America B4 he sorta hadda breakthru w/ 1979's DANCING IN THE DRAGON'S JAWS & the minor hit "Wondering Where the Lions Are." But Cockburn released something like 10 albums B4 DANCING, many of them only in Canada.
There's nothing on RESUME that's as dramatic & catchy as "Incandescent Blue" or as haunting as "Badlands Flashback" offa DANCING (both of which I played B4 putting-on RESUME), but there's lotsa stuff that's close. (If it helps, the best songs on DANCING R the longer 1's, & "Badlands Flashback" is worth hearing just 4 Pat Godfrey's superb cascading-waterfall piano & the cosmic mood Bruce conjures-up even while singing in French! ... Doesn't matter, U can tell he's Seeing Things....)
The best stuff on RESUME is at the start & finish. "Silver Wheels" is a Dtailed trip from the placid country in2 the huge, bustling city until the Dtail piles-up & Xplodes & it sounds like Bruce is losing his grip. Xcellent dramatic piece w/ nice gtr work -- all it lacks 2 B really superb is a contrasting mood-break in the middle; Bruce's backing band almost succeeds in this w/ a sorta fluttery flugelhorn solo at the Nd, but the break shoulda happened earlier....
"The Coldest Night of the Year" is pleasant but leans a bit 2 much toward lite vocal jazz in an apparent attempt at another single 2 follow-up "Lions." This was a mistake -- U can't soften-up Bruce cos mosta the time he can't get much softer.
"Can I Go With You?" is pleasant & has some nice gtr work. "Laughter" really will make U laff, at least at 1st. It's Bruce Bing obviously ironic, which apparently took him awhile -- usually he's very straight4ward & earnest.
"Water into Wine" is a 5-min acoustic-gtr showcase, nice but not stunning. "Mama Just Wants to Barrelhouse All Night Long" is pretty Mbarrassing. "Lord of the Starfields" (which immediately follows) is pleasant, but minor compared 2 what follows it.
"Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand" is Bruce Bing cosmically freaky again, & has some great spacey lyrics ("I've got planets in my palm/There's a red smear in the sky...."). Nice chimy gtr work here, 2. "Dialogue With the Devil" is a dramatic 8-min solo live tightrope walk w/ a beautiful Nding.
...& that's all. Personally, I woulda bn OK w/ a 2-record set, cos (if U haven't noticed already) I'm a sucker 4 this folk-based stuff (I have work by Fairport Convention & Nick Drake waiting in the wings). & apparently RESUME has never bn issued on CD. I hadn't heard it since about 1982 myself. Worth trackin down....
Bruce got More Political & angrier after this, scoring almost-hits w/ "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" & "Lovers in a Dangerous Time," + releasing a whole string of albums -- & he's still releasing albums. & there's 2 2-CD packages of singles that avoid mosta the songs listed above. So there's plenty out there 2 choose from.... Bruce is practically a Canadian institution now, & has even had a tribute album of his works issued. Bare Naked Ladies covered "Lovers in a Dangerous Time," & their version sounds like 5 overdubbed Bruce's singing....
Ran outta time & finished-off w/ Eno's "The True Wheel" offa TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN (BY STRATEGY), mainly so I could vote in Rastro's poll over at LA HISTORIA DE LA MUSICA ROCK (R U reading Rastro? U SHOULD B -- now he's writing poetry sorta based on blues-singer Robert Johnson's life & mystique, & it's freaking BRILLIANT -- go check it out right now, it's WAY better than my babblings) ... where was I? Oh yeah.... "The True Wheel" is as cute & odd as NEthing else I've heard by Eno so far, but Phil Manzanera's gtr solo, which is what I was listening-4, sounds kinda flat & clanky -- mayB Eno "treated" it? It sure didn't jump outta the speakers at me.
Course it could B that my cheap, tinny, no-bass, 3-inch-speaker CD player isn't playing me everything it should B -- tho everything else sounds normal. I've gotta test coming up 4 it, tho: I'll put on Fairport's "Tale in Hard Time" or "Meet on the Ledge" or "Come All Ye" or "I'll Keep it With Mine" or "Sloth," turn it up loud & C how it sounds.... More of this soon, I promise.
CURRENTLY READING: Norman Spinrad's SCIENCE FICTION IN THE REAL WORLD and STAYING ALIVE: A WRITER'S GUIDE, both of which R funny & abrasive enuf 2 keep me laffing out-loud....
& BTW, now over 100 posts since I opened-up shop here at Blogger last Aug. I don't Blieve it either....

2 comments:

rastronomicals said...

Tad

Thanks for the talkup, though I don't think my work lives up to it.

What's up with the Gong-pan, man? Gong are hee-fucking-larious, always (OK almost always) make me laugh. All I have is the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, but, while acknowledging their enthusiastic excesses, how can you not like it?

Or specifically with You, if the pothead pixie jokes aren't getting it done, what about "The Isle of Everywhere?"

Dude, it jams.

No flying teapots or elves, just 10 minutes of fusion-inflected virtuostic rock. Awesome.

Oh my God, I'm so embarassed. You've made me realize that Manzanera's "nonintuitive" guitar solo from Taking Tiger wasn't from "The True Wheel" at all, but rather from "China My China."

Talk about having to turn in your on-the-edge-listening-guy card . . .too late to change the poll, I'll be posting a new one tonight, so all I've got is the embarassment. . . .

Ah well, the solo from "The True Wheel" is rather freaky as well, and definitely "treated." Gets rather intense, too, with Eno's staccato vocals over the ever-compressed guitar.

tad said...

R: Thanx 4 commenting. I tried "Isle of Everywhere" 1nce or 2wice & I'll try it again after yr urging. Not sure why Gong's trippy/druggy(?) humor doesn't get 2 me, Ghod knows I like a good laff, my son said 1nce it's the key 2 my heart -- if some song can make me laff I'm instantly converted. MayB I can't match-up the silliness w/ what Cms like pretty serious jamming... They were definitely in2 the music, whatever else they were doing....
Uh... Now I'll listen 2 "China My China," which I would've got10 2 NEway, shouldn't B listening 2 Eno in bits&pieces, but other stuff has kinda 4ced it that way. Needta get some more early Roxy Music in2 the house, 2....
& of COURSE yr writing is worth the talk-up. NEbody who can grab me enuf 2 read a long poem about The King of the Delta Blues Singers (who didn't really impress me, tho it's probly my fault) has gotta B doin something right.
Thanx as always 4 commenting, & keep the great stuff comin.... -- TAD.