Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mostly New Music Friday #2!

Camel: In the Arms of Waltzing Frauleins/Cloak and Dagger Man/Stationary Traveller/Long Goodbyes/Pressure Points (live).
Jefferson Airplane: Mexico/Wooden Ships/Eskimo Blue Day/Pretty As You Feel/Third Week in the Chelsea/Have You Seen the Saucers?/The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil/Martha/Greasy Heart.
ELP: Jerusalem/Toccata/Benny the Bouncer/Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression (Part 1).
Be-Bop Deluxe: Blazing Apostles.
Keith Jarrett: Pyramids Moving.
Laurie Anderson: From the Air/Big Science/Sweaters/Walking & Falling/Born, Never Asked/O Superman.
Spirit: Fresh Garbage/I Got a Line on You/Prelude -- Nothin' to Hide/1984/Mechanical World/Ice/New Dope in Town/Cold Wind.

A little better selection of new stuff this time, + a few old favorites I couldn't resist playing....
I rather stupidly traded-off Camel's import-only STATIONARY TRAVELLER a coupla yrs back after only a listening or 2, thinking that none of it grabbed me that much, it was a little 2 Alan Parsons Project-ish (not that there's NEthing wrong w/ that), & that I already had the best 2 trax off of it ("West Berlin" & "Refugee") on Camel's ECHOES best-of.
But thanx 2 the recent release of Camel's RAINBOW'S END best-of, I now have over 1/2 of STATIONARY TRAVELLER back in the house 4 another listen. "Cloak and Dagger Man" DEFinitely sounds like the Parsons Project, as does "Long Goodbyes," possibly cos both have vocals by APP's Chris Rainbow. The title track has some nice guitar & a pleasant pan pipes solo by Andy Latimer. "Frauleins" is a German period piece & the live "Pressure Points" opens big & then Dgenerates in2 OK gtr-background music -- it had a bigger impact in the studio version. Dspite this, RAINBOW'S END has a lotta good stuff on it, well worth looking in2 if yr a Camel fan. Course I coulda assembled a better box, but don't get me started....
Ah, the Airplane. Bless its pointed little head. Always Xcellent gtr from Jorma Kaukonen, & summa the vocal blends R AMAZING. "Mexico" is so grabby I played it 2wice -- a brief dope anthem from '70 w/ complex vocal interweaves & a LOT goin on & Grace Slick's marvelous angry singing -- she sure could project. "Wooden Ships" is a ragged after-the-bomb anthem, an intresting contrast w/ Crosby, Stills & Nash's much smoother version (which I know much better). "Eskimo Blue Day" is a Green anthem w/ occasional great lines ("the human crowd don't mean shit to a tree") & another Xcellent Grace vocal.
The jazzy & stupid "Pretty As You Feel" was a single? "Third Week in the Chelsea" has a nice folky tune & funny lyrics -- it sounds like Kaukonen's farewell 2 the Airplane. I like almost all of Paul Kantner's sci-fi epics 4 Jefferson Starship, but 1970's "Saucers" doesn't quite have the formula down yet. "Pooneil" is pretty loud 2 B a ballad, but there R occasional neat lines among the ragged vocals ("Will the moon still hang in the sky when I die?"). "Greasy Heart" has some neat lyrics about sex & more great singing by Grace. All these R from ESSENTIAL.
At the risk of ruining my reputation as a Prog "expert," I hereby admit that I've never listened 2 Emerson, Lake & Palmer's BRAIN SALAD SURGERY -- supposedly their best album -- all the way thru. I don't know why that is. I'd of course heard "Still, You Turn Me On" & the 2 parts of "Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression" (I think the 1st section is WAY better & more dramatic than the "Welcome Back My Friends...." part -- in fact, it's probly my all-time fave of their works) -- but after seeing my buddy Rastro had played "Jerusalem" recently, & after reading Emerson's autobio, I thot I'd try 2 take care of this blank spot. & I'm glad I did.
Talk about over the top. Lake's singing on "Jerusalem" is pretty solid -- almost dignified. But how 'bout Emerson? He's already burbling away. Then there's "Tocatta," in which E makes every possible bubbling, burbling, roiling, farting noise his synthesizers R capable of -- this is hysterical, pyrotechnic entertainment, but is it music? "Benny the Bouncer" is silly, but there's some neat barrelhouse piano in it.
So the reason BSS is ELP's best album is Bcos of the over-the-top-ness of it, the non-stop juggernaut of energy & sheer sound, yes? ...Wonder if I'll survive Side 2...?
Hadn't heard "Blazing Apostles" in years. Great fluid gtr, great choruses -- but Be-Bop's leader/gtrist Bill Nelson sings his rather good lyrics like he was taught English as a 2nd language. His Bryan Ferry-ish voice seemsta have trouble getting the words out. This track's from SUNBURST FINISH, which has a pretty good 1st side -- best thing on it's the glorious "Sleep That Burns," & the thunderstorm of gtr at the end of "Crying to the Sky."
I could C pyramids Bing built 2 music like that conjured up by Keith Jarrett & his saxophonist Dewey Redman. A screechy Egyptian horn, groaning sounds of great weight being rolled up a ramp, wood blocks & gongs & scattered percussion, & U can hear seagulls in the background. Suprised U can't hear flies in the 4ground. From Impulse's GREAT MOMENTS WITH KEITH JARRETT best-of.
Laurie Anderson's "From the Air" is repetitive & hypnotic, w/ some nice sax & Laurie's warm voice & funny lyrics. "Big Science" has some great driving directions that had me laffing. "Sweaters" is silly but has a great kazoo orchestra. "Walking" & "Born" R kinda 4gettable, but "O Superman" takes all the tricks in the previous songs & strips them 2 the bone, making 4 a pretty gripping 8 mins of Minimalism. There R some similarities 2 Philip Glass here, but Anderson is much warmer, not as icy & creepy. & I can't Xplain how a change in her tone of voice can make me laff. All these trax R from BIG SCIENCE, found 4 $1 at Goodwill -- I might even keep it.
Spirit's "Fresh Garbage" has some nice jazzy piano. & 1nce I got started playing their BEST OF I got sucked in. "Line" is brilliant, 2 bad it's only 2-1/2 mins long. "Nothin' to Hide" is nearly as good, but along w/ all the good things in it from the delicate opening 2 the sour vocals, it also has a really neat laff at the end that I never noticed B4.... "1984" is a paranoid rocker about the Men In Black, 1969-style. "Mechanical World" is a dark dirge I couldn't finish. "Ice" is a jazzy keyboard-based instrumental. "New Dope in Town" warns that "too much business is bad for you baby" -- seems obvious enuf. "Cold Wind" is mournful. These last 3 R from CLEAR, a soundtrack album 4 a 4gotten movie, which 1 reviewer at the time called "mood music." Sounds like it'd B right up my alley. Not sure I can buy CBS's claim that these guys were America's answer 2 Pink Floyd, however. Need more evidence....
I was gonna end this session w/ Split Enz's "Poor Boy" cos I haven't heard it in awhile, but I FORGOT. Next time....

1 comment:

R Smith said...


I had Clear Spirit one time but didn't like it very much. They had it right when they call it mood music. There are two albums of note, first is 12 Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus to which The Best Of Spirit is over half that album. I consider that to be a 70's classic to the point that I did rebuy 12 Dreams the Remastered and I swear it sounds much different then the Audio Fidelity CD. Another was their Spirit Of 84 which they revisit the old classic and I Got a Line On You is stretched out to over 6 minutes. Hard to find but I did find it on Vinyl when I was in AZ

ELP's Brain Salad Surgery I haven't heard as album either but if I find it used and in good shape I'll consider it. Now, The Airplane...yep Pretty As You Feel came out as a single and I remember it being played on far away stations, it's off Bark and that record is a uneven mess. With Marty Balin gone, a lotta it endless jamming and Grace sings a German song in German but Third Week in The Chelsea was the highlight.

The Essensial Jefferson Airplane replaced the 2300 Fulton Ave compliaton and soundwise it's an improvement although I wish they would have included the bizarre Grace Slick written Two Heads (B side to Ballad of U,ME & Pooneil). I still perfer the first two albums, Takes Off, Surreal Pillow which is good folk rock most of all if you think about it. Bless it's pointed little head is a fun live album but it falls apart on side two, especially the 11 minute Bear Melt. Cerainly when Jorma left the band, they were never that interesting, even when they mutated into Jefferson Starship and later the odious Starship with Mickey (Fooled Around And Fell In Love) Thomas.