Monday, July 25, 2016

Lots more short-takes

Here's what I played between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. --
* Cowboy Junkies -- Sweet Jane. Wow, this is so low-key and murmuring and sweet. Margo Timmins' voice is very lulling. And that la-la-la finish is chillingly pretty. And it's a Lou Reed song. Is my ignorance showing? Well then.
* Sinead O'Connor -- Nothing Compares 2 U. I was in Turkey when Sinead was A Big Deal, and I really Didn't Get It. But this morning it's really working for me. This is pretty heartbreaking, and there's enough emotion here for anyone. And what a voice. And of course Prince wrote it. If anything, it's over with too fast.
* Fleetwood Mac -- I Know I'm Not Wrong (cd remix). Well, they remixed the SHIT out of this for CD, and I don't know WHY. The choruses were perfect just the way they were. Thank Ghod they left the harmonica/organ instrumental hooks after the choruses. But they've rushed it. And they've fucked it up. One of Lindsey Buckingham's best rockers, now messed with. Hang onto the vinyl version, it's better. Very disappointing.
* Cat Power -- He War. All thanks to Rastro at La Historia de la Musica Rock, I've always loved this hypnotic, bitty, bad-love anthem. The tiny keyboard and guitar riffs, the drumming, the singing -- it's like an angry mantra. And all the parts fit. Glorious.
* Steely Dan -- Bodhisattva. Recent convert to this, from back in the day when Steely Dan was trying to be a rock band rather than a sophisticated jazz combo. I don't care what it means, but I love the flashy, slippery, slithery tune and playing. And Donald Fagen does some of his most relaxed singing.
* Gordon Lightfoot -- Ribbon of Darkness. (Avoiding "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" because I know it too well.) Wow, this sure sounds different from Marty Robbins's version. And Gordy sounds so Canadian -- like he's fresh out of the North Woods just to sing you a song.
* Gordon Lightfoot -- The Way I Feel (version one). This is moody and pretty, but it has none of the drive and mystery of Sandy Denny and Fotheringay's later version (included on Fairport Convention's great vinyl FAIRPORT CHRONICLES best-of).
* Gordon Lightfoot -- The Way I Feel (version two). The electric version. This is a little closer to it, there's a little more mystery, but the guitars are a little weedy. Should have been heavier.
* Gordon Lightfoot -- The Circle is Small. I loved the late-'70s version of this cheatin'-love ballad. This is so fresh vocally and in the playing, a much different mood from the later version -- more heartbroken than bitter. Very nice.
* Paul Revere and the Raiders -- Just Seventeen. Naughty, slobbery rocker. Great freakin' stuff! How could anyone think Mark Lindsay was harmless with that leering, drooling voice?! Hilarious! And great guitar!
* Paul Revere and the Raiders -- Do Unto Others. "Louie Louie" meets Social Protest. Hypnotic. Great lost B-side.
* Paul Revere and the Raiders -- Country Wine. Played on radio about 4 times back in '72. Cute, catchy, lighter than air. Shoulda caught on.
* Paul Revere and the Raiders -- Song Seller. Played about THREE times on radio back in '72. I think it's funny. Millions apparently disagreed. Pretty gutsy Mark Lindsay vocal for something this silly.
* Carly Simon -- Legend in Your Own Time. My Ghod, this guy will play ANYTHING! Moody portrait of a lover. Nice, could have been a hit, though not much in the way of commercial hooks. From Carly's REFLECTIONS best-of, which unfortunately doesn't include the great ironic "We're So Close."
* Carly Simon -- Anticipation. This is an Olde Favorite, worth hearing again even if it's just for Andy Newmark's great drumming. This should NEVER have been used in a ketchup commercial....
* Jefferson Airplane -- Lather. That Grace Slick, what a joker. Great vocal. And great sound effects.
* Jefferson Airplane -- Crown of Creation. Always have loved the Airplane's (and Starship's) science-fiction-chorale pieces, and this is one of their best. Angry, amazing vocals, great guitar.
* Jefferson Airplane -- Greasy Heart. More jokes from Grace. Maybe. Amazingly angry vocal.
* Jefferson Airplane -- Martha. Is this about a cat? OK, maybe not. But too many drugs, man.
* Jefferson Airplane -- Mexico. Charming little ditty about some early '70s business problems involving ... uh ... importing goods from South Of The Border. Boy, these guys were pissed off. Pretty rushed, should have been longer, with more details.
* Jefferson Airplane -- Have You Seen the Saucers? Love the line about "American garbage dumped in space." Otherwise, this is NOT one of the Plane's better science-fiction chorales. Some OK freakout guitar.
* Carole King -- Corazon. Some nice Latin percussion and horns, and OK piano, but as a tune this is no "Been to Canaan."
* Spirit -- Aren't You Glad? This Jay Ferguson meditation on the Summer Of Love never goes much of anywhere, but there's some nice Randy California guitar, and it all builds nicely in intensity.
* Bob Dylan -- Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. More comedy from Uncle Bahb. Nice organ from Al Kooper. Yeezus, who taught Bob how to sing? A little long, but funny.
* Frank Zappa -- Cheap Thrills. What's with the munchkin vocals? And this doesn't go much of anywhere.
* Frank Zappa -- How Could I be Such a Fool? I'm OK with the doo-wop sort-of satire, but this is just sort of average.
* Frank Zappa -- Deseri, Jelly Roll Gumdrop, You Didn't Try to Call Me. Frank, are you kidding?
* Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention -- Wowie Zowie. Gosh, this isn't funny. What happened to my sense of humor? This could be a problem.
* Yes -- Ritual. OK, now THIS is funny. Or maybe I'm in bad trouble. Always did think Yes were a pretty good comedy band at times (like on TORMATO). Nice wordless group vocals and good country-western-ish guitar in the opening section. Livelier than I expected. Nice group chanting on words Jon Anderson probably scribbled down during a smoke break. Nice bass-and-drums duel between Chris Squire and Alan White, with Steve Howe joining later on guitar, building in intensity. Then it all drops out for a long percussion-and-spoons interlude. Then a tranquil, relaxed vocal section. Howe picks up the intensity on guitar. And then ... it fades out. Where's the rest of it? Better than I expected, to be honest.
* Yes -- Sound Chaser. Ornate keyboard leads into a jumpy guitar underpinning frenzied vocals. Faster! These guys are on uppers or something. Odd lyrics recited over more jittery guitar. (At this point the CD player became jumpy and incoherent and could not continue with this track. Our apologies.)
* Neil Young -- The Loner. Pleasant music, mildly disturbing lyrics. Why wasn't this a hit? I predict a big future.
* Neil Young -- Tonight's the Night (Part One). A little whiny, a little morbid, but not bad. Nowhere near as harrowing as I expected.
* Neil Young -- Like a Hurricane. Rather nice mellow love song with lots of good guitar. Surprised it wasn't a complete blow-out. There's quiet in your eyes....
* Neil Young -- Cortez the Killer. I LOVE the version of this on Neil's LIVE RUST. It's epic. Not sure I've ever heard this studio original. But like the live version, it's grand and stately, and Neil's in no hurry. And the lyrics are pretty amazing. But it fades out instead of closing with a long guitar freak-out at the end.
* Billie Holiday -- These Foolish Things, Summertime. Probably too old-school for me to be able to hear. But Billie sounds happy on "These Foolish Things." And I've still never heard a version of "Summertime" that I've liked much. OK, maybe John Coltrane's version, but he got through it by ignoring the tune.
* John Coltrane -- Alabama. The opening is anguished, the rest smolders. Reportedly inspired by a church fire-bombing in Alabama in which four young African-American girls were killed. Coltrane felt it.
* King Crimson -- Requiem. If everything else fails, Crimson can always wake me up. But this is really noisy. Sounds like guitars throwing up. Sorry, Bob.
* Aimee Mann -- I Should've Known. The former voice of 'Til Tuesday, sounding more like Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders here on the lead track of her 1993 album WHATEVER. Strong vocal, excellent screechy guitars. An ear-opener.
* Aimee Mann -- Say Anything. Sorry to say this is the only other thing that grabbed me off of WHATEVER, and it took awhile to get started. OK choruses, bitter lyrics. Worth hearing, but they put the best song up front.
* Ramones -- The KKK Took My Baby Away. Just the kind of moving, sensitive, gloppy love ballad you'd expect from everybody's favorite heart-on-their-sleeve hometown boys. Glad to see they're keeping their standards high.
* Ramones -- Bonzo Goes to Bitburg. As political commentators, Ramone, Ramone, Ramone and Ramone are not quite tough enough. This is OK, and I love the keyboard/glockenspiel touches, but it should have hit harder, shouldn't have been smoothed-out with backing vocals. This is an angry song. It should SOUND angry. Instead, it sounds like it was produced by Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Paul Simon, etc.). In light of this, it would come as a small surprise to learn he was part of the Family.
* Susan Tedeschi -- Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean. Love her with the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Here she's covering an old blues number I first heard done by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. And she starts out belting it. It smooths out a little later. Not bad.
* Susan Tedeschi -- Angel From Montgomery. This heartbreaking John Prine classic already has one perfect version -- done live by Bonnie Raitt and Prine. (It's on Raitt's Warner Brothers best-of.) That's a hard performance to top. But Susan keeps her vocal reined in, and the guitar, piano and fiddle are solid. Good work, and a nice finish. If you haven't heard Raitt and Prine's version, this cover might knock you right over.
* Uriah Heep -- Sweet Lorraine. I remember the screaming woo-woo synthesizers from this, a very annoying hook for your memory. I also have some other reservations....
* Uriah Heep -- The Wizard. This is certainly CALMER and less woo-woo than "Sweet Lorraine." The cosmic lyrics better suit this band, somehow. Nicely majestic without getting stuffy or silly about it. And it's short.
* Peter Gabriel -- Here Comes the Flood. The one song of Gabriel's I can't do without is "Family Snapshot," but I don't play it much. This is hushed and dramatic, just Gabriel and a piano. Is this about the end of the world?
* Peter Gabriel -- Mercy Street. Quiet, ghostly, hypnotic. Pretty, but no hit-single potential here.
* Beach Boys -- Susie Cincinnati. Cute perennial B-side by the Boys. Al Jardine wrote it and sings lead. Punchy, bouncy, nice vocals. Too cute to be embarrassing.


R S Crabb said...

Hey Tad,
looks like you were all over the map on the song selections. Some causal thoughts here.
Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions is their highlight but I don't play it very often. I think they do a cool version of Walking After Midnight and Sweet Jane is so sad and mellow.

Ruben And The Jets, Frank Zappa made a doo wop album but then he ruined that album with a new overdub 1985 mix and new drums. I managed to find a scratchy original Verve album of original mix and drums and that one is much better. Zappa can play the hell out of his guitar and Ray Collins was the perfect vocalist for the Ruben/Jets but Zappa's potty humor has made most of his output unlistenable.

Paul Revere and The Raiders-Love their 60s stuff, not so much when Mark Lindsay took over. Collage remains a very uneven and overrated album of theirs and what I remember of Country Wine, that side 1 was good but side two was total dog poop. Just Seventeen sounds creepy in this day and age.

Neil Young, I love Cinammon Girl or the electric side of Rust Never Sleeps, but admired Like A Hurricane from afar, and his version on Live Rust was better than the one on American Stars and Bars.

For the airplane, Crown Of Creation I think ranks higher than Volunteers. Their live album Bless Its Little Pointed Head is half good, half bad. They simply couldn't jam very well as Bear Melt indicates but I enjoyed their take on Fat Angel and Rock Me Baby. It helped a lot when Jorma started performing more often too.

TAD said...

Hi Crabby! Many thanks for your continued support. Maybe I'll have more new stuff to look over here soon. Sure hope so, anyway. Getting kinda bored with what I've got in the house again, so it's looking like another trip to my neighborhood Goodwills....

R S Crabb said...

Things have been hit and miss here. Goodwill gets picked clean but Half Priced Books had plenty of stuff in the 2 dollar bins and since I have a bunch of gift cards, I ended up getting a Captain Beefheart Book and Carol Kings Tapestry and Rod Stewart Atlantic Crossing, a very underrated album. Lotta corny 45s at the local Salvation Army but I did find a 1983 Gordon Lightfoot LP Salute which is not bad but nothing like his United Artists albums and Summertime Dream. I'd love to come visit your local Goodwill stores but I do not think I can handle the four hour plane ride out there. Guess I have to be there in spirit.

R S Crabb said...

Here's the latest Townedger Radio 20 you were asking about. Hope you enjoy it!