Saturday, November 6, 2010

Throw something at the wall....

...and see if it sticks!
(Mostly New Music Friday #3)

B.J. Thomas: Rock and Roll Lullabye.
Split Enz: Poor Boy.
Spooky Tooth: Feelin' Bad.
Yes: No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed/Clear Days.
It's a Beautiful Day: Soapstone Mountain.
Jade Warrior: Dark River/Obedience/Borne on the Solar Wind.
Alan Parsons Project: The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether/You Don't Believe.
Leo Kottke: Whine/Embryonic Journey/Losing Everything/Drowning.
Ike and Tina Turner: River Deep, Mountain High.
Turtles: Lady-O/Sound Asleep.
Nilsson: Remember (Christmas).
The Move: Tonight.
The Kinks: Victoria.
Van Morrison: Wavelength/St. Dominic's Preview/Listen to the Lion.

Opened this session w/ a beat-up old vinyl copy of B.J. Thomas's "Rock and Roll Lullabye," from a GREATEST HITS album found at Goodwill 4 $1 -- & Dspite the scratches, Duane Eddy's twangy guitar & the gorgeous backing vocals by Carl Wilson & Darlene Love still did their magic. The best & most comforting thing ol' Beej ever did.
Split Enz's "Poor Boy" is 1 of the best things they ever did -- Tim Finn's song about falling in love w/ an alien. Along w/ the spacey/cheesy gtr & keyboards (like something strait outta some '50s sci-fi B movie -- or probly something more like a D-), summa the lyrics R pretty funny: "I've never seen her face/Between us there's too much space...." From HISTORY NEVER REPEATS/THE BEST OF, & TRUE COLOURS.
Spooky Tooth's "Feelin' Bad" is (2 me) classic late-'60s goodtime British rock, especially great 4 the ragged almost-gospel-ish group-vocal choruses, impossible not 2 screech along w/. From SPOOKY TWO.
4 me, Yes's "No Opportunity Necessary" is 1 of the great mismatches of all time, great silly fun as 1 of the un-funkiest groups ever covers a Richie Havens song. & how bout those TOTALLY over-the-top orchestrations? The strings&horns middle section sweeps along like something from an old Marlboro cigarettes commercial -- U can almost C the Marlboro Man riding boldly across the plains.... The great thing is, it pretty much works -- the later remastered version on YESSTORY clears up the musical chaos & is a lot punchier, boosting the band's instrumental work & Jon Anderson's kinda ballsy(!) vocal. Brave & silly, whatta band. The orchestra actually works kinda well toward the end of Jon's brief solo-vocal "Clear Days." Both these R from TIME AND A WORD.
"Soapstone Mountain" has some kinda nice gtr toward the Nd. Other than that, pretty dull.
Jade Warrior helped invent New Age -- way back in 1971. All these trax R instrumentals from LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM: "Dark River" is rather Mike Oldfield-ish, mixing tribal drums, flute & acoustic gtr -- pretty in spots, but not rock&roll. "Obedience" has lotsa loud electric gtrs, which was always The Other Side w/ this band (at least in its early days), the loud boogie always waiting 2 escape out from under the placid stuff, leading 2 ugly #'s like "Snake Bite." "Solar Wind" is a big, stately, metallic gtr theme repeated over&over w/ few variations 4 3 mins....
"Dr. Tarr" is 1a Parsons' early singalongs -- I'm a sucker 4 the backing vocals & choruses. "You Don't Believe" apparently outlines summa the creative strain Btween Parsons & his partner, lyricist & vocalist Eric Woolfson. Kinda compelling no matter what it's based on, tho there R no real suprises.
"Whine" really does start out with a catchy & whiny gtr theme, which unfortunately gets lost B4 the Nd. "Embryonic Journey" is a solid cover of Jorma Kaukonen's old Jefferson Airplane tune. The other 2 R vocals, 1 about relationships breaking up, w/ some kinda clever lyrics. I can't even remember what the other 1's about, Xcept that w/ titles like these, they Rn't the kinda things I otta B listening 2 on an overcast, rainy aft when it's so obviously November outside. Kottke mayB sang 2 much on this album (BALANCE) when his gtr spoke more than well enuf.
Blame "River Deep" on my buddy Crabby. In his recent Top 10 he talked about a late-'60s Ronettes song that didn't chart but should've, & it occurred 2 me that I hadn't played NE of Phil Spector's stuff in awhile. I'm sure I musta heard this at least 1nce B4 a few yrs back, but even w/ the overcast & rain outside, Phil's Wall Of Sound did its magic. I had tears in my eyes, man. I don't know if I love this more than "Be My Baby" or "Baby I Love You" -- Tina screeches a little -- but it shoulda at least charted. It shoulda sold a million. It woulda sounded great on the radio next 2 "Good Vibrations".... From Phil's GREATEST HITS.
Needed a break after that. The Turtles' version of Judee Sill's "Lady-O" is gorgeous & also shoulda bn a hit. "Sound Asleep" is the other Xtreme -- pure laffs. & how bout that chorus of quacking ducks at the Nd? From their Dutch-import 20 GREATEST HITS.
"Remember (Christmas)" is a heartbreaker, the essence of nostalgia.
"Tonight" is more silliness. Whatever happened 2 Roy Wood?
I predict an upcoming Xplosion of Kinks music Bing discussed here. "Victoria" is a screamer that sounds almost dignified in its original studio version compared 2 later "live" versions as on say TWO FOR THE ROAD. But the original has great gtr sound & some nice horns, + brother Dave Davies whooping it up in the background. From ULTIMATE COLLECTION, & ARTHUR. I'm also a sucker 4 "Apeman," "Shangri-La," "Dead End Street," "Village Green Preservation Society," "Sunny Afternoon," "David Watts," "Celluloid Heroes," "Misfits"....
1nce it gets going, "Wavelength" is pretty good. But it coulda gotten there quicker. "St. Dominic's Preview" is an OK rolling, relaxed sorta-jam track. "Listen to the Lion" is a pretty amazing vocal performance from Van as it slowly gains intensity & mutates over 11 mins. Involving & hypnotic, tho I'm not sure about Van's growling in the middle. & again, this coulda bn cut by a coupla mins. I'm wondering if Van needed an editor or a producer (other than himself) who might notta indulged him quite so much. Xcellent instrumental work on all these, all from STILL ON TOP/THE GREATEST HITS.

1 comment:

R Smith said...

hahahaha, glad to be of bad influence there. It has been said that if Phil Spector issued River Deep Mountain High back around 63 it would been a monster hit, the album is highly thought of, but I've never heard the rest of it and come to think of it when I do put on PS greatest hits or Back To Mono it sounds better on radio then on disc. I think the CD sounds a bit tinny myself...Soapstone Mountain I got on a 45 at Goodwill years ago and it's 2:46 edit. Didn't chart but sometimes it's played on Beaker Street, the underground show out of Little Rock.

Victoria remains one of the high points in The Kinks career although I didn't care for their punk version off the 1980 live double One From The Road. Still Arthur the album remains one of the best rock concept albums out there, better and less fat than The Who Tommy.

And finally a word about Balance. Had it in my collection years ago, sold it off and then found another LP and took a listen. He really takes off on Emboylanc (sic) Journey and I did play side 1 more then 2. Laid back but his version of Learning The Game kinda put me to sleep. Did have Burnt Lips and Guitar Music at one time, nice background music but not something I'd listen to on a regular basis. ;)