Monday, May 27, 2013

#676: Sick as a dog....

...What's your story?

Latest playlist:
Spirit -- I Got a Line on You, Nature's Way, 1984, Fresh Garbage, Dark-Eyed Woman, Prelude/Nothing to Hide, Aren't You Glad?
Fairport Convention -- Crazy Man Michael, Farewell Farewell, Stranger to Himself.
Weather Report -- Badia/Boogie Woogie Waltz medley, Thanks for the Memories, A Remark You Made, Slang, In a Silent Way (all live from 8:30).
Procol Harum -- Shine On Brightly, A Salty Dog, A Whiter Shade of Pale, Homburg, In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence, Repent Walpurgis.
King Crimson -- The Power to Believe I: A Capella, Level Five, Eyes Wide Open, Elektrik, Happy With What You Have to be Happy With, The Power to Believe III, The Power to Believe IV: Coda.
Can -- Uphill, Mother Upduff, Moonshake, Future Days, I Want More, Don't Say No, Spoon, Outside My Door, Halleluwah.
Hawkwind -- Urban Guerrilla, Sonic Attack, Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke), Assault and Battery (Part 1).
Jefferson Airplane -- Mexico, Good Shepherd, Wooden Ships, Eskimo Blue Day.
Barclay James Harvest -- Vanessa Simmons, Happy Old World, Ball and Chain, Medicine Man, Ursula (The Swansea Song), Someone There You Know, The Poet/After the Day, I'm Over You, Child of Man, Breathless, While the City Sleeps.

Some sort of ugly 36-hour bug grabbed me & made working the past couple of days a real pain in the ass, head, stomach & just about everywhere else. Did get some more music listened to, however....
Felt a little better as soon as I put Spirit on -- the guitar rush of "I Got a Line on You" works every time. "Nature's Way" is still perfect. But some of their stuff I just Don't Get, so I tried a couple of those: "Fresh Garbage" is certainly off-beat enough, but it never gets any better than when Jay Ferguson comes breezing in at the start singing the title phrase.... "Dark-Eyed Woman" has a nice dark sultry mood to it. "1984" is still spooky, & seems even more relevant in our current semi-police-state atmosphere.
"Stranger to Himself" is still a moving funeral march -- one of the best things Sandy Denny did later in her career.
"Boogie Woogie Waltz" is still a killer -- but I'm not sure about some of the others. "Thanks for the Memories" is a nice Wayne Shorter sax-solo spotlight, but there were folks in the audience who only went nuts when Wayne hit those long high notes.... "In a Silent Way" hardly sounds anything like Miles Davis's original (& chief Weather-man Joe Zawinul wrote it). Bassist Jaco Pastorius's "Slang" has more energy than most of these.
Ah, the Procols. Talk about pretensious. But they had talent to burn. Still, I Don't Get why A&M couldn't have tossed 15 more minutes of music onto their GREATEST HITS -- how 'bout "Wreck of the Hesperus" & "Long Gone Geek," or maybe the live "In Held T'was in I"?
Course, there IS some Good Stuff on there. My pick is "Shine On Brightly," which has some screaming Robin Trower guitar on the choruses, & Keith Reid's lyrics are cute -- it should've been a hit. "A Salty Dog" still seems a little sludgy & limp to me, but Gary Brooker's singing is pretty amazing, especially at the end, & the lyrics paint a clear picture. Almost cinematically vivid. "Repent, Walpurgis" is a keyboard&guitar-led instrumental, OK but not stunning.
KC's "Level Five" is better live, but "Eyes Wide Open" is another solid ballad from Adrian Belew. "Happy" is still the best & funniest of KC's recent "comedy" songs. As for the "Power to Believe" segments ... well, they helped pull an album together....
Can is all about THE RHYTHM. "Uphill" has a great ominous ongoing riff. "Mother Upduff" is a comedy classic ("Mother Upduff hadn't been out of Dusseldorf in EIGHTY YEARS...."), & even behind that there's still some loopy music goin' on. Later on, Can got smoother & less abrasive -- closer to a sorta twisted dance-rock. It doesn't really matter what guitarist Michael Karoli is murmuring in "Moonshake." "Don't Say No" is even closer to dance music. "Outside My Door" could've been a hit. "Spoon" was -- in Germany.
I still think Hawkwind's "Urban Guerrilla" is funny, but it's probably not the most politically correct choice in our current bombing&violence-plagued society. "Sonic Attack"'s good comedy, too. & "Psychedelic Warlords" works on chant power alone.
The Airplane's angry "Mexico" is great, though I wish the vocals were clearer. "Good Shepherd" is an Olde Favorite. "Wooden Ships" is much rougher than the CSNY version I heard years before this one -- the Airplane's version doesn't lack for drama or mood or ferocity, however....
The Barclays? Well, they got better. Sometime around their second album ONCE AGAIN, they seem to have grown up a little & their songwriting got noticeably stronger. There are still some problems, though.... "Vanessa Simmons" is almost good, a way-of-life-issues-poser. "Happy Old World" is a misnomer, because the narrator doesn't think the world's a happy place at all -- more melodrama, though not as overwrought as previously. I couldn't get through "Ball and Chain," which is a life-is-hard blooze. "Medicine Man" is a Western -- with an orchestra. These guys really seemed to have no particular inspiration, other than to be a rock band with an orchestra....
Just when I was wondering if I could get through all of BJH's HARVEST YEARS best-of, up pops "Ursula (The Swansea Song)," which is simple & low-key & nicely reflective & bouncy enough that it could have been a hit. & it works better than any of their Big Statements so far. I wonder if they knew that? Some artists weren't meant to make Big Statements.... They should've done more "pop" stuff like this.
"Someone There You Know" is above BJH's average. "The Poet/After the Day" is more overwrought end-of-the-world melodrama, though not as overdone or as bad as "Dark Now My Sky" or "She Said." "I'm Over You" is no big deal -- though the title phrase is repeated about 84 times; who's he trying to convince? -- but the vocal harmonies on the choruses made me smile.
I remembered the choruses from "Child of Man" from those imported BEST OF BJH vinyl albums I briefly owned 35 years ago -- the spoken-word choruses are annoying enough & memorable enough that this could have been a hit. "Breathless" is a decent guitar-led instrumental. "While the City Sleeps" is keyboardist Wooly Wolstenholme talking about his insomnia.
So far I hear about 6 songs from THE HARVEST YEARS worth putting on a best-of -- out of 30 tracks. I'll try to finish this off next time....

No comments: