Monday, July 29, 2013

#702: All over the place

Hey, Mick Farren died. He was 69. Don't know a whole lot about him, except that with Lemmy he co-wrote the excellent dark rocker "Lost Johnny" on Hawkwind's above-average HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN GRILL album (1974). Farren was also a prominent member of the late-'60s British underground, & was quoted extensively in Johnathan Green's oral history about that scene & period, DAYS IN THE LIFE, which I read a few years back.
Farren was reportedly quite a character -- a music journalist & member of late-'60s punk-revolutionary band The Deviants. He occasionally released solo albums that had cool titles like VAMPIRES STOLE MY LUNCH MONEY. He also wrote a string of science-fiction novels, starting with the rock-flavored THE TEXTS OF FESTIVAL, which has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for years.
Apparently Farren died after collapsing on-stage while performing with his band The Deviants. That seems an appropriate way to go out....

Hope you've been catching rock critics Jim DeRogatis & Greg Kot's SOUND OPINIONS, which airs here every Sunday night at 10 on the University of Washington's KUOW-FM. Last night's show was a "Buried Treasures" special, in which the guys pointed out some current albums worthy of more attention.
Normally this would be an immediate tune-out for me, but in my current state of Musical Boredom, I held on. They played a few things that weren't bad. Two songs in particular impressed me:
* "Counting," by a Chicago rapper performing under the name Autre Ne Veut, from his album ANXIETY. Maybe this is rap, but it sounded more like futuristic soul to me, with lots of whirring machine-like sounds & keyboard washes. & the lyrics were pretty desperate. Murmured, not rapped. Pretty haunting.
* "Irene" by Trixie Whitley from her album FOURTH CORNER. This also sounds like soul/R&B, with very strong vocals.
Some of the other stuff Jim & Greg played was above-average though not stunning -- still better than tuning-out. But I might have to check out the two artists above. Plus I really should look into Savages' SILENCE YOURSELF....
Next week, Jim & Greg are supposed to play The Greatest Rock Instrumentals Of All Time. Should be a great one....

The latest playlist, pretty much the same old stuff:
Three Dog Night -- Let Me Serenade You, My Impersonal Life.
Badfinger -- No Matter What, Day After Day, Baby Blue, The Name of the Game, Rock of All Ages.
Doobie Brothers -- Neal's Fandango.
The Church -- Reptile, Under the Milky Way, Metropolis.
Modern English -- I Melt With You.
Fleetwood Mac -- Oh Well, Why?
Van Morrison -- Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile), Domino, Wild Night, Cleaning Windows.
The Move -- Message from the Country, Do Ya?, Tonite.
Like the orchestrations & Pete Ham's apparently unpracticed vocal on Badfinger's "Name of the Game." & "Rock of All Ages" is a lot of fun.
The Church's "Metropolis" has some nice guitar work. Wish I could get into the rest of their best-of. & I'm still looking for a gorgeous guitar-drenched instrumental by them that I heard once on the radio around 1988 & have never heard since. Anybody got any ideas...?

Am more than halfway through Hunter S. Thompson's huge collection of early letters, THE PROUD HIGHWAY. For the past couple dozen pages he's been recounting his hilarious & painful adventures as a free-lance journalist in South America in the early 1960's. Some of his descriptions are laugh-out-loud funny. And an occasional line will stop my reading with a shock. The most surprising one-liner so far has been: "These guns will be the end of me." And that's exactly how it turned out. RIP....

Translating old posts into "Real English" continues here at the Back-Up Plan. So far, I've made it as far back as early May's post "The biggest missile base in the world." This rewrite work will be continuing....

On the way here are Kevin Ayers' BEST OF, Jim DeRogatis's KILL YR IDOLS, rock critic Robert Palmer's BLUES AND CHAOS, & two reminiscences by British SF writer Brian W. Aldiss: BURY MY HEART AT W.H. SMITH'S and THE BRIGHTFOUNT DIARIES. Reviews of all these are likely in the future....

Any musical suggestions? Please submit them below. If you know of any artists who mix British folk with loud guitars & keyboards & nice vocal harmonies (and aren't TOO expensive), they'd probably be right up my street....

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