Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Intresting but not really good....

On his blog PUNKADIDDLE (http://punkadiddle.blogspot.com/), British writer Adam Roberts reviews an "intresting but not really good" 4got10 SF novel from 1970, TAURUS FOUR by Rena Vale. Roberts reviews lotsa older SF books (some qualify as antiques), but was sucked in2 this 1 by the intriguing cover.
SF Cms 2 hava lotta books like this. There Cm 2 B a bunch that have fallen thru the cracks over the yrs & Dserve 2 B dug out 4 another look. (Makes me wish I was still 19 yrs old & reading EVERYTHING, so I could go back & re-discover summa this overlooked stuff. I also feel like I otta B hanging out at my local used bookstore more often....) Summa the "intresting but not really good" novels that have stuck w/ me over the yrs include....
+ FROM THE LEGEND OF BIEL, Mary Staton (1975) -- This book re-launched Ace Books' acclaimed "Ace Specials" line 4 yrs after editor Terry Carr left the company & Ace's SF sales had bn languishing. It's 1/2 a pretty-good book, starting w/ the geometricly-shaped bldgs that 4m the alien city that's shown on the front cover. The painting shows the MT city surrounded by vast grassland, w/ tiny human shapes in the 4ground, nothing else.
Inside the book, a human Xploration team lands on an apparently Dserted planet, approaches & Xplores the abandoned city. At 1 point, a member of the team Nters a huge bldg that Cms 2 B a center 4 worship. After a long look around, he activates what appears 2 B a playback Dvice, & a piece of alien music Bgins playing inside the shrine.
The 1st notes of this alien music immediately turns the brains of all the members of the Xploration team (Bcos they all hear the music thru the comm in their spacesuits) in2 Swiss Cheese, & it's all downhill 4 the final 200 pgs of the novel.
Which is 2 bad, cos the 1st 1/2 was presented clearly & directly, & the occasional typographical tricks weren't 2 irritating & didn't get in the way of the story 2 much. Tho much of the resta the story (from the humans' viewpoint) is mush, there's a LONG history of the aliens that doesn't add up 2 much, & the surviving members of the Xploration team DO get off the planet (I THINK, Xcept 4 the guy who triggered that infernal music....), but none of it is presented w/ NE 4ce or weight -- it doesn't MEAN NEthing. 1st 1/2 pretty great, 2nd 1/2 mush.
+ SEED OF LIGHT, Edmund Cooper (1959) -- Not the 1st generation-starship story, but nicely handled, w/ some great mind-Xpanding ideas, even tho it reads more like an in-depth outline rather than a novel.
Perhaps the best segment is when a "super-genius" takes charge of the ship, & thru Xtended meditation can C the MT path ahead 4 the Xplorers & the yrs of failure ahead of them -- but B4 he can take the actions that will lead them in a more hopeful direction, he dies -- & the Xplorers do in fact suffer yrs of failure & frustration, just as their far-Cing genius had predicted.
The problem, I think, is that much of the book is TOLD & very little of it is SHOWN. It's not dramatized much. I remember Cing mayB 10 lines of actual dialogue in it -- leading me back 2 my point that it's more like an Xpanded outline. But some of the ideas & concepts R pretty neat....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking 4ward....

Along w/ William Gibson, Bruce Sterling was 1 of the firebrands of the mid-'80s "Cyberpunk" movement in science fiction. Sterling helped create a manifesto 4 "The Movement" in the intro 2 his at-times Xcellent MIRRORSHADES short-story anthology, & published the "house organ" of Cyberpunk w/ the outrageous mimeographed limited-edition fanzine CHEAP TRUTH.
In the pages of CHEAP TRUTH, Cyberpunk writers like Sterling, Lewis Shiner & Rudy Rucker published hilarious, scathing reviews of what they felt was boring, backward-looking SF -- while hiding Bhind terrible pen-names like "Sue Denim."
(U can find a complete run of CHEAP TRUTH posted on the 'Net, just look-up the title -- & it's worth it 4 the screamingly funny, at-times vicious reviews, & 4 the climax of the series, in which Sterling -- writing under the pen-name Vincent Omniaveritas -- is apparently killed in a cream-pie-&-water-pistol attack by the '80s cadre of traditional SF writers (("The Humanists")) upon the Austin, Texas, treehouse where CHEAP TRUTH was supposedly published....)
But all that was a long time ago. Since then, Sterling has Bcome a world traveler & won a coupla Hugo Awards 4 his short fiction, & his huge novel ISLANDS IN THE NET won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. His most recent novel was issued earlier this yr. But back in the days when he was a visionary revolutionary....
HEAVY WEATHER (1994) is the only 1 of Sterling's novels I've bn able 2 get all the way thru. (Also tried HOLY FIRE & ZEITGEIST, & bogged-down within 50 pgs of the start on each; I can't read summa his short fiction either.) After a rough start, HEAVY WEATHER is almost crystal clear & nearly perfect. The story follows a group of storm-chasers (the film TWISTER was a dinner-time-TV-watching Classic at my house B4 I ever read this book, but the book coulda partly inspired the movie) as they use cutting-edge high-tech 2 track & study stronger-growing tornadoes roaming across an American Southwest heavily-damaged by Nature's revenge on Mankind.
1 scene early in the book shows Sterling's writing at its very best as R protagonist "borrows" a 1-man 'copter from the Storm Chasers & flies it over the group's camp -- the whole scene is beautifully written & U will C the camp & the surrounding landscape clearly in yr head: the movie's already right there waiting 2 get on-film.
The resta the book follows the Storm Chasers in their preparation 4 the coming of the Ultimate Storm -- & it does arrive. But, 4 me fatally, after Sterling spends the whole book building up 2 this Ultimate Scene, he strands all his characters off-stage where they can't C the Ultimate Destructive Spectacle that's going on outside. This Cms a fatal flaw 2 me, 2 build a book up 2 a big scene that Sterling either couldn't write or chose not 2.
& yet the book's worth the trip 4 the clarity of Sterling's writing & the sharp, direct way his mind works....
THE HACKER CRACKDOWN is non-fiction, about the federal govt's fight against computer hackers -- who seriously got the Feds' attn when they brot AT&T's long-distance svc crashing down back around 1990.
The book is outdated, but again Sterling's writing is crystal clear, & in addition 2 following a major national-security-related story, Sterling intro's U 2 a ton of intresting people: The bragging computer hackers, who never saw a flashy system they didn't wanna break-in2; & the fed investigators, many of whom come from a computer-geek background & R barely much more than hackers themselves. Sterling points out that 4 the hackers, even worse than the criminal charges is the Mbarrassment & their loss in status when the feds catch them & take away their bragging rights.
Sterling also includes a LONG history of the telephone bizness, the 1st "high-tech" system 2 unite the country & the world, & shows that there have bn telephone pranksters 4 almost as long as there's bn more than 2 phones in Xistence. Dated, but Xcellent.
Summa Sterling's short fiction is pretty great 2. His short-story "Dori Bangs" was 1 of the greatest short pieces of the '80s -- the life story of a person who never Xisted, the fictional daughter of legendary rock critic Lester Bangs -- & Sterling's incandescent writing makes 4 an amazing, positive, life-affirming piece of fiction. I remember his long story "Green Days in Brunei" as Bing pretty amazing 2 -- but I can't remember what the story's actually ABOUT....

Sad songs 4 dead writers

Barry N. Malzberg's THE ENGINES OF THE NIGHT (1982) is a lengthy critique of the science-fiction field, subtitled "Science Fiction in the '80s," but mainly it's a look back at some of the Xcellent writers who helped bring literacy 2 SF -- & what happened 2 them.
Malzberg spends mosta his time mourning about how writers as gifted as Theodore Sturgeon, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, Mark Clifton, C.M. Kornbluth, William Tenn, C.L. Moore & many others beat their brains out writing pulp-magazine stories 4 a penny a word. Summa their work was brilliant & revolutionized the SF field -- & Malzberg is alternately mournful & outraged about the fact that all the great SF writers of the '40s & '50s probly cranked-out all their work -- in its Ntirety -- 4 less than 1/4 of the avg advance 4 yr avg Big Best-Seller, these days.
But it's not just about economics. In a way, ENGINES OF THE NIGHT is about the fate that awaits all genre writers -- or possibly ALL writers -- 1nce they're no longer read.
In the book's most gripping & successful chapters, Malzberg paints unbearably moving portraits of the last days of Mark Clifton -- who discovered 2 his horror & disappointment that Bcoming a better, more effective writer DIDN'T Xpand his audience -- & of mystery writer Cornell Woolrich, who Dspite his brilliant writing ability had only 1 successful, lasting emotional relationship in his Ntire life, w/ his mother -- & who Dspite dying rich, spent his last days living alone in a Manhattan hotel, drinking & watching old movies on TV. These portraits Rn't easily 4got10. (& these sorta portraits could B carried thru 2 the present: The more recent deaths of SF stars like Philip K. Dick, John Brunner & Thomas M. Disch would provide still more sad portraits of supremely talented writers who were left w/ little or nothing -- but of course it wasn't the kind of WRITING they were doing that did this 2 them, or at least not directly....)
The resta the time, Malzberg looks back at the '50s, which he nominates as SF's best & most revolutionary decade, the time when the most lasting of SF's stories & novels were written, when the most adventurous, mind-Xpanding & Xperimental work was done, even moreso than during SF's late-'60s "New Wave."
There R Xaminations of sex in SF; the 6 mo's in the late-'60s when Malzberg was Editor of the 3rd-rate SF & fantasy magazines AMAZING & FANTASTIC; & a hilarious, revealing, unBlievable peek Bhind the scenes at the 4 DAYS it took Malzberg 2 write his early-'70s novel THE TACTICS OF CONQUEST (based on a 2,000-word short-story called "Closed Sicilian"; his slightly-later novel 4 the same now-Dfunct publisher, GALAXIES, was Xpanded from a story 5x as long, so Malzberg notes it was "easier to bloat").
Thruout this book, Malzberg keeps threatening 2 write what he calls "The True, Terrible Secret History of Science Fiction," & I wish he would do it B4 he gets 2 old 2 pull it off. This 200-pg critique is angrier, more emotional, more direct, & more successful than NE of his 50-some novels.
(& in the early '00s Malzberg Xpanded it w/ the addition of the 35-pg reminiscence "Tripping With the Alchemist," a lengthy recounting of his many yrs as a manuscript-reader w/ the Scott Meredith Literary Agency; the updated & Xpanded book is now titled BREAKFAST IN THE RUINS.)
I think Malzberg missed his calling & shoulda bn an essayist & critic from the start....

Great cranky travel writing!

Tho he's gotta reputation 4 Bing cranky, travel writer & novelist Paul Theroux can B a lotta fun 2 read. Summa his travel writing is Xtremely vivid & funny, & (like John McPhee) after reading Theroux's books U almost feel like U don't need 2 go C summa the places he Dscribes. & summa them U wouldn't WANT 2 visit....
I got hooked on Theroux during 3 wks I spent in Greece in Summer 1991, broke & bored & working 2 hard. Dspite the gorgeous scenery all around me (which I couldn't afford 2 go get a closer look at), 2 fight the boredom I picked up Theroux's RIDING THE IRON ROOSTER, a 500-pg recap of his train trip across China in the late '70s. The book is Xhausting but vivid, & I started looking 4 more.
THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR recaps Theroux's 1st travel adventure, across Europe & Russia via the Orient Express in the early '70s. Tho not 2 long & quite vivid, cranky & funny, Theroux's loneliness gets 2 him, & the whole last 1/4 of the book is 1 long Xhausted return home.
Theroux's best travel book (of the 1's I've read) is A KINGDOM BY THE SEA, about his long WALK around the coastline of the island of Britain in the early '80s. It's (as always) vivid & funny & Dtailed -- he meets some very eccentric Brits, & gets himself in2 some amazing windswept, Ghod4saken locations -- not leaving out the gritty, dull, drab landscapes that surely Xist around the isles as well. The book made me love the British Isles (where I've never bn) even more.
FRESH AIR FIEND is a big collection of shorter pieces, & tho it's uneven there's some amazing stuff included -- among them R Xcellent reviews of other travel writers' works like those of Bruce Chatwin (Theroux makes him sound better than he is), & an overview of Apsley Cherry-Gerrard's THE WORST JOURNEY IN THE WORLD, which sounds like the Ultimate Travel Book: it's a recap of Cherry-Gerrard's walk across part of Antarctica in the early 1900's. There's also an intresting look back at Theroux's 1st few novels, written while he was a Peace Corps volunteer in East Africa in the early '70s.
Some of Theroux's novels R Xcellent 2, but some R just dry & MT -- THE BLACK HOUSE is a boring "atmospheric" chiller in which NOTHING HAPPENS. But MY SECRET HISTORY is brilliant, immediate, vivid & devastating -- tho it shows-up the writer as a real creep, a 10dency continued in MY OTHER LIFE, which has sections well worth skimming, but is awfully tuff 2 get All The Way Thru.... MOSQUITO COAST is also quite good, vivid, involving, even terrifying -- tho perhaps not quite as good as the movie made from it. There's also a creepy murder&sex-change-switcheroo novel called CHICAGO LOOP which is worth taking a look at -- at least it's short.
Theroux has dozens of other books, including sevral more volumes of travel writing I've bn looking 4. THE PILLARS OF HERCULES is about a canoe trip thru the Greek isles, & SUNRISE WITH SEAMONSTERS has Paul & his kayak paddling thru the 1,000 isles of Indonesia! But somehow I bogged-down about 50 pgs in2 his South American railway adventure, THE OLD PATAGONIAN EXPRESS....
Theroux can B cranky, but he's usually funny, & he has a sharp eye that doesn't miss much. Check him out....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cleaning Out My Closet....

This is probly gonna B more like a dumping ground. A coupla mo's back I made this huge list of 4got10 & overlooked singles I wanted 2 write about (after I ran outta stuff rattling around inside my head, AMAZING what Research can do), & after looking at it recently & doing some other research on-line, I'm afraid I haven't got much that's 2 Shocking or Suprising left. But there IS a lotta stuff left on this list, so this'll B an effort 2 get it all down. & away we go....
* Cream: "Badge" ('69) -- An album-rock classic, but really, Xcept 4 "Layla," did Eric Clapton ever play another guitar figure as gorgeous as the 1 that opens up the middle of this song? I've read the lyrics (by Clapton & George Harrison) Bing Dscribed as "nonsense," but I think they fit perfectly w/ the dramatic & jagged music, & the singing's great. Why couldn't something this great break the Top 40? It did in England....
* Fleetwood Mac: "The Farmer's Daughter" ('81), *"Monday Morning (live)" ('81) -- Both from the Mac's 1st 2-disc LIVE album, released back-2-back on a single. "Farmer's Daughter" is a brief, gorgeous breathy remake of an old Beach Boys #, & was the best thing on the Ntire 2-disc set. "Monday Morning" led-off the album, & beats the studio original 2 death.
* The Who: "Relay" (#39, '73), +"Call Me Lightning" (#40, '68), +"Let's See Action" ('70), *"The Kids Are Alright" ('65), +"Disguises" ('66), +"Dogs" ('67), +"I'm the Face" ('65) -- Jeez, these guys shoulda made the Top 10 about a dozen times. & they didn't. "Relay" is a leftover from Pete Townshend's LIFEHOUSE project, spooky & driving, w/ an Xcellent Roger Daltrey vocal. "Call Me Lightning" is infectious silliness w/ a great chorus. "Let's See Action" is the best of the 'Oo's immediate-post-TOMMY singles (circa '69-'70), w/ great choruses & a nice build. "Kids Are Alright" is my fave early Who single, almost gentle, wistful; no suprise they didn't do much stuff like this. "Disguises" has great gtr (of course) & more of that sneering Daltrey vocal like he used on "I Can See for Miles." "Dogs" is more British silliness, charming but of course it ain't rock&roll.... "I'm the Face" was their 1st single ever & has hilarious mock-macho posing. All these R on their 4-CD best-of box, THIRTY YEARS OF MAXIMUM R&B.
* Buffalo Springfield: "On My Way Home" ('68), *Bluebird ('67), *Mr. Soul ('67), +Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing ('66) -- I've raved about the Springfields B4, & U can get all these songs on NE Dcent best-of collection. Thin period production hurts summa these songs, but they're great nevertheless -- all Xcept "Bluebird" were written by Neil Young. "On My Way Home" has an Xcellent Richie Furay lead-vocal & nice horn fanfares 2 highlite Neil's kiss-off 2 the resta the band; produced by Jim Messina in the band's final days when they were no longer speaking-2 each other. Stephen Stills' "Bluebird" has great stinging gtr & cryptic lyrics; the single edit's great if 2 short, longer versions bore me. Speaking of cryptic, "Mr. Soul" is mayB Neil's 1st grappling w/ his own weirdness; it includes more great gtr. "Clancy" is the single BS released B4 "For What It's Worth" -- it was banned from airplay 4 use of the word "damn." Furay's vocal is again Xcellent, the lyrics R twisted, & Dspite the thin production it gains some real in10sity at the Nd. & I wonder if the whole thing's an impotence metaphor; that's just the way my mind works....
* Procol Harum: "Shine On Brightly" ('68) -- Right up there w/ "Wreck of the Hesperus," "Whiter Shade of Pale," "A Salty Dog" & the last 1/2 of the live "In Held T'was in I" among their very best. Just a poetic Dscription of what a crazy guy thinks about, w/ great Robin Trower gtr!
* Byrds: "Chestnut Mare" ('70) -- Country-rock epic, great vocals by Roger McGuinn, beautiful choruses, everything clear & precise as an Ansel Adams photo. Byrds fans probly loved it, but 5+ mins of this was probly 2 much 4 radio back then.
* Genesis: "Afterglow" ('76), *"Your Own Special Way" ('76) -- From my favrite period 4 these guys, after Peter Gabriel but B4 superstardom -- they did a lotta beautiful mushy stuff in this period. Keyboardist Tony Banks' "Afterglow" is almost perfect, w/ Xcellent choruses & building 2 some real drama at the Nd. Bassist Mike Rutherford's "Your Own Special Way" is lighter & takes awhile 2 get where it's going, but the choruses R BEAUTIFUL. But again, 6 mins of this (& it don't move 2 fast) was probly 2 much 4 disco-era radio....
* Chicago: "In Terms of Two" ('73), +"Critic's Choice" ('73) -- From CHICAGO VI. Bassist Peter Cetera's "In Terms of Two" is a nice bouncy sorta-country-rock # that takes off from "Oh Susannah" & turns in2 a sorta railroad-workers' folksong, I guess. Got lotsa radio airplay, shoulda bn a hit. Pianist Robert Lamm's "Critic's Choice" led-off the album & is DEFinitely a response 2 critics who slagged the band back in the day -- Lamm's singing is the perfect mix of sincerity & weariness 4 the song, & the lyrics R clever & funny but shouldn't B taken seriously, especially when the song fades-out in2 the lame Top 5 hit "Just You 'N Me."
* John Denver: "I Think I'd Rather Be a Cowboy" ('73), *"Farewell Andromeda (Welcome to My Morning)" ('73) -- Why R U laffing? "Cowboy" almost ROCKS, w/ great LOUD gtrs & a pissed-off mood from ol' Goodtime John, but as the B-side of "Sunshine on My Shoulders" it got almost no radio airplay.... "Andromeda" is a lot more like usual, as JD continues the Xploration of the cosmos he started w/ his earlier hit "Rocky Mountain High." That should B all U needta know....
* John Stewart: "Midnight Wind" (#28, '79) -- Best thing he ever sang, a dark & haunted love song disguised as breezy SoCal pop. & if this does NEthing 4 U, U should check-out the very dark Side 2 of his album DREAM BABIES GO HOLLYWOOD....
+ Ronnie Dyson: "One Man Band" (#28, '73) -- Just a nice modest little # about the comforts of self-sufficiency, w/ great choruses.
+ Chi Coltrane: "Thunder and Lightning" (#17, '72) -- Haven't heard this in yrs, but Ms. Coltrane got pretty wild on the vocals as I remember. OK piano 2. Her only hit.
+ Starz: "Cherry Baby" (#33, '77) -- Rep as a minor-league Kiss, I thot their only hit was kinda cool, power-poppy w/ nice choruses....
+ Tubes: "Love's A Mystery (I Don't Understand)" ('79) -- Big ballad, heavy dramatic production by Todd Rundgren. This is like a blueprint 4 their later ballad hit "I Don't Want to Wait Anymore" (#35, '81). From the underrated TV-obsession concept-album REMOTE CONTROL, which also features 4got10 classics like "I Want it All Now" & "Prime Time."
+ Alice Cooper: "Teenage Lament '74" ('74) -- Well, I liked it. MayB not a classic on the level of "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (#25, '73) or "Elected" (#26, '72), but well above Alice's later hits like "You and Me" & "How You Gonna See Me Now."
+ Henry Gross: "Come On and Say It" ('75) -- The prequel 2 Gross's 1976 No. 6 hit "Shannon." Very pleasant, sunny & bouncy, w/ Xcellent choruses. Haven't heard it in 35 yrs. Got lotsa airplay on Boise, Idaho's then-fairly-adventurous all-automated KBBK-FM.
+ Atlanta Rhythm Section: "Doraville" (#35, '74) -- Just some laid-back Southern boys singin about their hometown, a suburb of Atlanta. Nice gtrs & pretty good vocals....
= Korgis: "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime" (#18, '80) -- About my only success as Singles Maven back in my Record Store Daze was helping get local radio 2 play this repetitive, synthesizer-wash early-'80s-style breathy love ballad. Coupla guys from eccentric English group Stackridge teamed-up 2 record this. Has NEbody out there ever HEARD Stackridge?
+ Icehouse: "Big Southern Land" & "Icehouse," "We Can Be Together," "Can't Help Myself" (all '80) -- Icehouse was an Australian new-wave band led by singer-songwriter Iva Davies, who sounded like a more-human David Bowie w/ more rhythm. The last 3 songs listed here (all on the band's 1st album) have a distant almost-icyness 2 them, but Davies got warmer as he went: "Big Southern Land" is sorta an epic, & he & the band made the Top 15 w/ "Electric Blue" & "Crazy."
* Gary Numan: "Are Friends Electric?" ('79), +"I Die You Die" ('80) -- Well, if U could handle Icehouse, Gary Numan'd B no problem. "Friends" was Numan's 1st single & topped the charts in Britain; it's sorta an icy Krautrock synth-epic w/ Bowie-esque vocals but some real in10sity. "I Die You Die" continues the drama w/o as many hooks.
= Rupert Holmes: "Nearsighted" ('79) -- From the guy who (Ghod help us) gave us "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)." THIS is an AMAZING Barry Manilow impersonation, that somehow sounds XACTLY like Manilow -- w/o getting all gloppy. Bet Barry wishes he'd written it....
= Cat Stevens: "Two Fine People" (#33, '75) -- Probly the very last of Yusef Islam's really pleasant pop hits, w/ his characteristic lite touch, Xcellent choruses & a nice catchy Nding.
= Smokie: "If You Think You Know How to Love Me" ('75) -- Mushy British pop w/ memrable choruses, heavy on the group vocals that I'm a sucker 4.
= Evie Sands: "You Brought the Woman Out of Me" ('76?) -- Haven't heard this in YRS, might strike me now as Mbarrassing. Among the ranks of Fanny's "Charity Ball" & Kiki Dee's "Amoureuse" as Bing just a little 2 sensual 4 its time....
= Beginning of the End: "Funky Nassau" (#15, '71) -- Great horns & a Dclaring vocal highlite this not-quite-reggae #.
= Bulldog: "No" ('71) -- 4mer members of the Rascals teamed-up 4 this silly pop not-quite-hit. The sleazy hippie lines & falsetto vocals were probly just a little 2 much, tho it's catchy.

Great SF reviews!

Probly the best reviews & critical articles on science fiction Bing written 2day R those by John Clute, which can B found in spots all over the Internet. (I'll give U a few places 2 check-out, but a quick web search'll get U started).
Clute started out in the late '60s writing SF reviews 4 Britain's controversial NEW WORLDS magazine. When I 1st read him in the mid-'70s in the pgs of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, at 1st I didn't know WHAT 2 think. He was so DIRECT -- brutal, abrupt, cynical, sarcastic, almost abusive about a lotta old-fashioned SF that he felt was tired, worn-out, pointless. While obviously passionate, he also Cmd awfully cranky, & I wasn't sure 4 awhile what all his fussing was about.
It took me awhile 2 figure-out that his abrupt & sometimes abusive crankiness could also B a pleasure 2 read -- if I was in the right mood.
A lotta other readers of F&SF apparently didn't know quite what 2 think either. Clute's apparent disrespect 4 & abuse of old-time SF writers like Poul Anderson, Gordon Dickson, Harry Harrison, Clifford Simak & others put summa those readers on-edge, & they Xpressed their displeasure. If Clute thot those Old Pros were writing in their sleep he SAID SO. & he wasn't nice about it. Nor did he apologize. In the intro 2 1 column he admitted all his weaknesses & bad 10dencies, agreed that they could B noted by chapter & verse ... & then kept right on going.
He only reviewed 4 F&SF 4 a few yrs, but I Njoyed him. Then he found other things 2 do, other places 2 write 4. W/ others, he founded Britain's INTERZONE magazine in the early '80s, & wrote much of the huge & marvelous ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION. A few books of his criticism have bn published (STROKES includes the F&SF columns), & he's also published a coupla critically-acclaimed novels.
But things have changed over the yrs. From the cranky, sharp, opinionated & sarcastic reviewer of his early days, Clute has turned in2 1 of the central figures 2 read when trying 2 get a handle on Where SF Is At Now. & where it might B going....
I wouldn't say Clute LIKES everything now -- he doesn't LIKE everything & he doesn't READ everything -- but he's mellowed quite a bit. He can still come right out & say when something's a piece of shit, & he does. But he Cms a lot gentler, more intrested now in where a piece of fiction, a novel or short-story collection fits in w/ both the history of SF & Where We're At Now, & how a given piece of fiction might help chart a path in2 the future.
He's also Bcome WAY 2 good at writing obituaries 4 fellow SF writers. Some recent obits he's written 4 J.G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch & Algis Budrys R superb eulogies 4 those talented men -- & they don't shy away from presenting the darker stuff.
Clute was writing reviews 4 SciFi.com but has apparently shifted over 2 SFWire.com. His newest reviews can B found at http://scifiwire.com/author/john_clute/. A pretty huge trove of older reviews under his 4mer column title "Excessive Candour" can B found at http://webarchive.org/. A few other fairly-recent reviews R stashed at http://blissbat.net/2009/07/excessive-candour-rescued/. There R also a few 5-yr-old reviews from Infinite Matrix that can B found at http://infinitematrix.net/archive/archive.html#clute. This will at least get U started....
Clute is carrying on his Xcellent work in the tradition of great earlier SF critics like Damon Knight, James Blish, Algis Budrys, P. Schuyler Miller, Harlan Ellison, Joanna Russ, Spider Robinson, Barry N. Malzberg & Norman Spinrad. I think he's the best SF critic since Budrys died & Spinrad apparently retired.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Previous Great Lost Singles....

Here's a shockingly long list of previously-reviewed Great Lost Singles, reviews of which U can still find over at my other blog, at http://www.tadsweirdassmusicandbooks.co.cc/, where U'll find them broken down in2 batches of 15 2 20 singles per post. Feel free 2 skim thru this stuff & let me know how I reminded U of some song U haven't heard since 1972 -- I'd love 2 hear from U. (& BTW, I promise 2 cut all this list stuff & just relax & WRITE something soon, but I'm still trying 2 get all my basics down here in my new home, don't ya know....)
* Addrisi Bros. -- We've Got to Get it on Again (#25, '72)
* Alive & Kicking -- Tighter Tighter (#7, '70)
* Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass -- Monday Monday ('68), +A Beautiful Friend ('68)
+ America -- Sandman ('72)
+ Adam Ant -- Goody Two Shoes (#12, '82), +Antmusic ('80), =Stand and Deliver ('82)
+ Apollo 100 -- Exercise in A Minor ('72)
+ April Wine -- You Could Have Been a Lady (#32, '72)
+ Assembled Multitude -- Overture from "Tommy" (#16, '70)
+ Bachman-Turner Overdrive -- Blue Collar ('73), +Tramp ('74)
+ George Baker Selection -- Little Green Bag (#21, '70)
* Bay City Rollers -- Rock and Roll Love Letter (#28, '76)
+ Blue Mink -- By the Devil I Was Tempted ('73), +Randy ('72?)
+ Blue Ridge Rangers (John Fogerty) -- Hearts of Stone (#37, '73)
* Boston -- Used to Bad News ('78)
* Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks -- Without a Leg to Stand On ('73), *Crying in the Night ('73/'78)
* Bullet -- White Lies Blue Eyes (#28, '71)
+ Brenda & the Tabulations -- One Girl Too Late ('72)
* Brewer & Shipley -- Witchi-Tai-To ('69)
+ Bubble Puppy -- Hot Smoke and Sassafrass (#14, '69)
= Buchanan Bros -- Medicine Man (#22, '69)
* Eric Burdon -- Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood/Nina's School ('74)
+ Cashman & West -- American City Suite (#27, '72)
* Cheap Trick -- Surrender ('78)
* Cheech & Chong -- Santa Claus and His Old Lady ('71)
* Chicago -- Questions 67 & 68 (#24, '71)
* The Church -- Under the Milky Way (#24, '88), *Reptile ('88)
* Eric Clapton -- Let it Rain (#48, '72), *Let it Grow ('74), *Bell Bottom Blues ('71), +Another Ticket ('81)
+ Climax -- Life and Breath ('72)
* Clique -- Superman ('69), +Sugar on Sunday (#22, '69)
* Clout -- Substitute ('78)
* Crabby Appleton -- Go Back (#36, '70)
* Crack the Sky -- Lighten Up McGraw (live) ('78)
* Cross Country -- In the Midnight Hour (#30, '73)
+ Cymarron -- Rings (#17, '71)
+ Chris DeBurgh -- Don't Pay the Ferryman (#34, '83)
* Kiki Dee -- Amoureuse ('74)
* Neil Diamond -- Walk on Water (#17, '72), *Soolaimon (#30, '70), *Shilo (#24, '70), *Solitary Man (#21, '70)
* Dion -- Daddy Rollin' (In Your Arms) ('68)
= Donovan -- Life Goes On ('73)
* Doobie Bros. -- Nobody ('71/'74)
* Dramatics -- Whatcha See is Whatcha Get (#9, '71)
* Bob Dylan -- One of Us Must Know ('66)
* Eagles -- Outlaw Man (#59, '73), *James Dean ('74), *Seven Bridges Road ('80)
* Easybeats -- Friday on My Mind (#16, '67)
* Edward Bear -- Close Your Eyes (#37, '73)
* Dave Edmunds -- Creature from the Black Lagoon ('79), *Information ('83), +Slipping Away (#39, '83)
* El Chicano -- Brown Eyed Girl ('72)
* English Congregation -- Softly Whispering I Love You (#29, '72)
* Fanny -- Charity Ball (#40, '71), +Butter Boy (#29, '75)
+ Firefall -- Livin' Ain't Livin' ('76)
* First Class -- Beach Baby (#4, '74)
+ Matthew Fisher -- Interlude ('73)
+ Five Man Electrical Band -- Julianna ('71), =I'm a Stranger Here ('72), +Werewolf ('74)
+ Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids -- Dancin' on a Saturday Night ('74)
* Fleetwood Mac -- Silver Springs ('77)
+ John Fogerty -- Almost Saturday Night ('75), +Rockin' All Over the World (#27, '75)
* Genesis -- Vancouver ('78), *Inside and Out ('77)
+ Giorgio (Moroder) -- Son of My Father ('72)
+ Gladstone -- A Piece of Paper ('72)
+ Glass Bottle -- I Ain't Got Time Anymore (#36, '71)
+ Bobby Goldsboro -- Pledge of Love ('68), +Love Arrestor ('68)
+ Grateful Dead -- Uncle John's Band (#69, '70)
* Grand Funk Railroad -- Rock and Roll Soul (#29, '72), *Closer to Home (#22, '70)
+ Norman Greenbaum -- California Earthquake ('71)
* Hall and Oates -- How Does it Feel to Be Back? (#30, '80)
* Albert Hammond -- Free Electric Band ('73), *I'm a Train (#31, '74), +Names Tags Numbers and Labels ('74)
* Hawks -- Let Me In ('80)
* Heaven Bound -- 500 Miles ('71)
* Chris Hodge -- We're On Our Way ('72)
* Hollies -- Magic Woman Touch ('73), *Long Dark Road (#26, '72)
+ Hudson Bros. -- So You Are a Star (#21, '74), +Rendezvous (#26, '75)
+ Hues Corp. -- Freedom for the Stallion ('73)
* Janis Ian -- When the Party's Over ('75)
* Icicle Works -- Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly) (#37, '84)
* Jackson 5 -- Maybe Tomorrow (#20, '71)
+ Joe Jackson -- One to One ('80)
+ Michael Jackson -- I Wanna Be Where You Are (#16, '72)
* Tommy James & the Shondells -- Ball of Fire (#19, '69), =Baby Baby I Can't Take it No More ('67)
* Billy Joel -- The Entertainer (#34, '74), *All for Leyna ('80), +Travelin' Prayer ('73)
* Elton John -- Ego ('78), *Step Into Christmas ('73), *Friends (#34, '71), *Tiny Dancer (#41, '71), *Levon (#24, '71)
* Robert John -- Lonely Eyes ('79)
* Casey Kelly -- Poor Boy ('71)
+ Andy Kim -- Fire Baby I'm on Fire (#28, '74)
* Johnathan King -- A Tall Order for a Short Guy ('72)
* Kingston Trio -- Greenback Dollar (#21, '63)
+ Kinks -- Apeman ('71)
+ John Kongos -- He's Gonna Step on You Again ('71)
* Kracker -- Because of You (The Sun Don't Set) ('73)
* Nicolette Larson -- Radioland ('81)
* Left Banke -- Desiree (#99, '66)
+ Lighthouse -- Sunny Days (#34, '72), *Hey Pretty Lady ('73)
* Little Sister -- Somebody's Watching You (#32, '71)
= Lobo -- A California Kid and Reemo ('71)
+ Los Bravos -- Bring a Little Lovin' ('66)
* Love -- Alone Again Or ('67)
* Mal -- Mighty Mighty and Roly Poly ('72)
+ Manfred Mann's Earth Band -- Living Without You ('72)
+ Manhattan Transfer -- Birdland ('80)
= Mashmakhan -- As the Years Go By (#31, '70)
* Mike McGear -- Leave It ('74)
+ McGuinn, Clark & Hillman -- Don't You Write Her Off (#33, '79)
* Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes -- Bad Luck (#15, '75)
+ Buddy Miles -- Them Changes (#62, '71)
* John Miles -- Highfly ('76)
* Joni Mitchell -- Raised on Robbery ('72), *Coyote ('75)
* Mojo Men -- Sit Down I Think I Love You (#36, '67)
* Monkees -- Take a Giant Step ('66), *The Girl I Knew Somewhere (#39, '67), *Tapioca Tundra (#34, '68)
= Tim Moore -- Second Avenue ('74)
* Van Morrison -- Into the Mystic ('71), *Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile) ('71), *Wild Night ('71)
* Mott the Hoople -- All the Young Dudes (#37, '72), +Honaloochie Boogie ('73), +All the Way from Memphis ('73), +Violence ('73)
* The Move -- Do Ya ('72), *Message from the Country ('72)
* Michael Murphey -- Carolina in the Pines (#21, '75)
* New Order -- True Faith (#32, '87), *Regret, +Blue Monday
+ Olivia Newton-John -- If Not for You (#25, '71)
* The Nice -- America ('68)
* Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- Some of Shelley's Blues ('71), *House at Pooh Corner ('71)
* Billy Ocean -- Love Really Hurts Without You (#22, '76)
* Nigel Olsson -- Only One Woman ('75)
* Original Caste -- One Tin Soldier (#34, '70)
* Outlaws -- I Can't Stop Loving You ('81)
* Freda Payne -- You Brought the Joy ('71)
+ Wilson Pickett -- Don't Knock My Love (#13, '71), +Fire and Water (#24, '72)
* Poco -- A Good Feelin' to Know ('72), *Here We Go Again ('73)
* The Pop -- Go! ('79)
+ Poppy Family -- Where Evil Grows ('71)
+ Cozy Powell -- Dance With the Devil ('73)
* Andy Pratt -- Pistol Packin' Melody ('74)
* Pratt & McClain -- When My Ship Comes In ('74)
* Prelude -- After the Gold Rush (#22, '74)
+ Billy Preston -- That's the Way God Planned It ('69)
+ Procol Harum -- A Salty Dog ('69), +Wreck of the Hesperus ('69)
+ Raiders -- Do Unto Others ('67), +Country Wine ('72), +Song Seller ('72)
* Righteous Bros. -- Dream On (#32, '74)
* Billy Lee Riley -- I've Got a Thing About You Baby ('72)
* Road Apples(?)/Road Home(?) -- Keep it in the Family ('71)
* Austin Roberts -- One Word ('73), +Something's Wrong with Me (#12, '72), =How Can I Tell You ('73)
* Rolling Stones -- Happy (#22, '72)
* Linda Ronstadt -- I Can't Let Go (#31, '80), *Someone to Lay Down Beside Me (#42, '76), *Long Long Time (#25, '70), +Poor Poor Pitiful Me (#31, '78)
* Royal Guardsmen -- Snoopy's Christmas ('67)
+ Rubettes -- Sugar Baby Love (#37, '74)
* Todd Rundgren -- Real Man ('75), *A Dream Goes on Forever ('74), *Couldn't I Just Tell You? ('72), *Saving Grace ('72)
+ Bobby Russell -- Saturday Morning Confusion (#28, '71)
= Larry Santos -- We Can't Hide it Anymore (#36, '76)
* Boz Scaggs -- Dinah Flo ('72)
* Del Shannon -- So Long Baby ('61), =The Answer to Everything (#28, '61)
+ Paul Simon -- American Tune (#35, '73)
+ Slade -- Mama Weer All Crazee Now ('72)
* Patti Smith -- Frederick ('79)
* Souther-Hillman-Furay Band -- Fallin' in Love (#27, '74)
* Spinners -- I'm Coming Home (#18, '74)
* Billy Squier -- My Kinda Lover ('81)
* Jim Stafford -- Swamp Witch (#39, '73)
+ Stampeders -- Sweet City Woman (#8, '71), +Wild Eyes ('72)
+ Stealer's Wheel -- Star (#29, '74)
+ Ray Stevens -- Bridget the Midget (#42, '71), *Misty (#14, '75)
* Rod Stewart -- Handbags and Gladrags (#42, '71)
* Paul Stookey -- Wedding Song (There is Love) (#24, '71)
= Sugar Bears -- You Are the One ('72?)
+ Sunshine Company -- Back on the Street Again (#36, '67)
* Sutherland Bros & Quiver -- (I Don't Wanna Love You But) You've Got Me Anyway ('73), *Arms of Mary ('76)
* Donna Summer -- I Love You (#37, '78), +Heaven Knows (#4, '79), +State of Independence ('82)
= Sweathog -- Hallelujah (#33, '71)
* Sweet -- Action (#20, '76)
* Bram Tchaikovsky -- Let's Dance ('80)
+ Teegarden & VanWinkle -- God Love and Rock and Roll (#22, '70)
* 10 C.C. -- Rubber Bullets ('73), +Wall Street Shuffle ('74)
* B.J. Thomas -- Rock and Roll Lullabye (#15, '72), +No Love at All (#16, '71), +Mighty Clouds of Joy (#34, '71)
+ Ian Thomas -- Painted Ladies (#34, '73)
* Thunderclap Newman -- Something in the Air (#37, '69)
* 'Til Tuesday -- Maybe Monday ('84), *Don't Watch Me Bleed ('84)
+ Tin Tin -- Toast and Marmalade for Tea (#20, '71)
+ Tower of Power -- So Very Hard to Go (#17, '73), +You're Still a Young Man (#29, '72), +Down to the Nightclub (Bump City) ('73)
* Ike & Tina Turner -- Nutbush City Limits (#22, '73), +River Deep Mountain High ('66)
* 20/20 -- A Girl Like You ('81), *American Dream ('81)
* Dwight Twilley Band -- I'm on Fire (#16, '75)
* Uriah Heep -- Easy Livin' (#39, '72), *Stealin' ('73)
* The Wackers -- I Hardly Know Her Name ('71)
+ Loudon Wainwright III -- Dead Skunk (#16, '73)
* Junior Walker & the All-Stars -- Take Me Girl I'm Ready (#50, '71)
= Travis Wammack -- Whatever Turns You On ('72)
+ Edgar Winter -- River's Risin' (#33, '74), +Keep Playin' That Rock and Roll ('72)
* Stevie Wonder -- Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing (#16, '74)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Great Lost Singles, Part 987

Ah, why not blog about some more Great Lost Singles while I'm waiting 4 something else worth writing-about 2 smack me upside the head?
At my old website (http://www.tadsweirdassmusicandbooks.co.cc/) -- which still works, at least as of 2 am this morning -- I've posted a long series of reviews of great lost singles from the '60s & '70s, songs that got played a few times on the radio & then were apparently 4got10. But thanx 2 recent researches at sites like the Airheads' Radio Survey Archive (http://las-solanas.com/arsa/stations) & The Year in Music 1963-1988 (http://theyearinmusic.wordpress.com/), what I've discovered is that summa those Great Lost Singles I loved actually got played A LOT in a LOTTA diffrent places. & THEN they got 4got10.
Problem is, after writing almost a dozen installments of Great Lost Singles, I'm not sure I have NEthing 2 suprising left....
* Blue Oyster Cult: "Astronomy" (1988). From their album IMAGINOS. This is WAY better, much more dramatic & better produced than BOC's original version released on their 3rd album SECRET TREATIES. The original version bores me; it's not heavy enuf. This is more like the best, creepiest, most dramatic, most in10se Stephen King horror novel ever put on vinyl. All their mysterioso atmosphere & slick gloomy creepiness peaks here. I'm tempted 2 call it their best ever. Great guitars, great vocals, great drama. Jeez, words fail me....
* Rickie Lee Jones: "We Belong Together" ('81). The lead track on her PIRATES album, a gorgeous, hushed, dramatic, almost whispered vocal coupled w/ Jones' beautiful piano playing. Jones Cms 2 mumble a tragic story of love, violence, Btrayal & tragedy on those ugly Jersey streets. & I don't even care. Crashingly dramatic, great stuff. & her "On Saturday Afternoons in 1963" on her 1st album is pretty amazing 2, tho I couldn't tell U what it's about other than the passage of time, which is a Heavy Enuf subject 4 NE pop song....
* Graham Nash & David Crosby: "Immigration Man" (#36/'72) -- The best mix of Nash & Crosby's harmonies outsida CSN&Y. The lyrics R apparently a Dscription of Nash's frustrations & struggles 2 get in2 the US, but they're funny, & the song is a little more in10se than summa CSN&Y's stuff. (Don't get me wrong, I LIKE a lotta their stuff). The instrumentation has a lot more in10sity 2, especially the guitars. But Nash could make the most mundane subjects sound in10se & life-changing -- ever hear his "Helicopter Song"? GREAT!
* Donovan: "Season of the Witch," +"Wear Your Love Like Heaven" (#23, '67) -- Yeah, & I like "Atlantis" 2. OK, so I'm a sucker 4 this guy. "Love Like Heaven" is almost unbearably sweet, & was actually turned in2 a cosmetics commercial themesong a coupla decades back. "Season of the Witch" is a perfect Halloween song, in10se & brooding but also silly & self-mocking. Donovan has a lotta fun w/ it, especially on lines like "Beatniks are out to make it rich." & his backing musicians -- the best in Britain at the time, betcha Jimmy Page & John Paul Jones R in there -- really wail away at it. A classic. Crank it up!
* Jimmy Buffett: "Chanson Pour Le Petite Enfants" ('79) -- The best, prettiest song on his VOLCANO album. Just a beautiful fantasy lullabye 4 very young kids, w/ great singalong choruses & an Nding that aspires 2 pure gorgeousness. If U think Buffett's only about cool drinks under the palms of Key West, U needta hear this....
* Golden Earring: "Snot Love in Spain" ('79) -- OK, mayB this wasn't a single, but it sure as hell SHOULDA bn. From the guys who brot U the hits "Radar Love" & "Twilight Zone," just a nice little paranoid song about getting drunk w/ the natives & other tourists on the coast of Spain, & about how quickly 1 comment can turn the Good Times in2 Something Ugly. Drunken layabout Barry Hay's vocals R hysterical, & the choruses have the nicest little vocal harmonies, + great sleazy harmonica! The whole thing is an amazing travelogue that'd probly make a great movie. It's also hilarious.
* Beach Boys: "Kiss Me Baby" ('65), "Here Today" ('66), "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" ('65), "Let Him Run Wild" ('65) -- B-side mania Bgins here. The BB's threw away a lotta great stuff on B-sides. "Kiss Me Baby" was the B-side of "Help Me Rhonda" & is 1 of the most dreamy & anguished breakup songs ever -- it's freaking GORGEOUS (a word I use WAY 2 much). "Here Today" was the B-side of the hit "Darlin'," but originally appeared in the middle of Side 2 of PET SOUNDS, where it sorta anchored that side in something like Normality. The lyrics R sorta cliched (a little wordplay on "Here today, gone tomorrow"), but it's bright & direct & Xcellent NEway. "There's No Other" was the B-side of the failed single "The Little Girl I Once Knew" (sorta a preview of PET SOUNDS, very pleasant, but w/ 2 many stops & starts & 2 much dead air 4 '65 radio); "There's No Other" was a remake of an old Phil Spector/Ronettes #, included on BEACH BOYS PARTY!, where the Boys sang it absolutely straight -- obviously cos they realized how great it is. "Let Him Run Wild" was the B-side 2 "California Girls," & something about the song apparently bugs Brian Wilson -- he reportedly wouldn't let it B included on the Boys' best-of box set. 2 bad, cos it's great, w/ as-usual great vocals & marvelous falsetto vocal flights by Brian. How could they just throw away stuff like this?
* Byrds: "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" ('65) -- The B-side of their lame version of Bob Dylan's equally-lame "All I Really Want to Do." This is infinitely better -- great guitars (of course), marvelous group vocals, & Gene Clark's clever, elusive lyric that refuses 2 spell-out just what the other 1/2 of this relationship did wrong....
* Joe Cocker: "Feelin' Alright" (#33, '72) -- This is sorta an album-rock classic, but we otta hear it more often, it still sounds great. It's also about the only Cocker song I can actually STAND. Part of it I'm sure is Bcos of the GREAT piano that rolls around all thru it, which I assume was played by Leon Russell or Chris Stainton or Nicky Hopkins, somebody like that. Cocker's vocal is pretty good 2 -- not 2 much sweaty drama. Dave Mason wrote the song. It shoulda bn a bigger hit.
* Bob Seger -- "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" ('77), "Mainstreet" (#24, '77), "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" (#17, '69), "Feel Like a Number" ('78). This guy doesn't get enuf Respect. These R all album-rock classics, but it's AMAZING how many great songs Seger's put out w/o having MORE huge hits. "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" & "Feel Like a Number" didn't even make the Top 40. Hard 2 understand. Especially since the 1st of these means more & more 2 me as the yrs fly by.... "Hollywood Nights," "Even Now" & "Roll Me Away" still sound great 2....
* Tom Petty: "Even the Losers" ('79) -- 4 me, this is the 1 time Petty put it all 2gether. This sounds like THE song he was MEANT 2 sing. It's not whiny, it's ABOUT something, & it paints a perfect picture of a time & place he misses. + there's a great hook-chorus. But he's never followed it up. The rest of his career has bn pleasant-but-whiny & Not That Impressive.
* Genesis: "You Might Recall...." ('82) -- From the studio side of their album THREE SIDES LIVE. This, "Paperlate" & Phil Collins' ferocious vocals on the live version of "In the Cage" were about the only reasons 2 buy the album. "You Might Recall" is perfect music 4 a summer's evening, w/ the tune "bubbling away" (in the words of an Indianapolis DJ) as the sun slowly disappears in2 dusk. Very nice brokenhearted love song -- the verses R vivid, & the long choruses really build-up 2 the bubbly instrumental breaks. Probly about the last really good thing they did....
* The Rascals: "See" (#27, '69) -- This is an absolute blowout, Felix Cavaliere & the guys just screamin & poundin away, & there's a great organ fadeout & return at the Nd. But these guys were already going outta style (why?) & turning towards jazz (again, why?). 2 yrs earlier it probly woulda bn a bigger hit.
* Tracey Chapman: "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" ('88) -- THIS wasn't a hit? WAY better than the Grammy-winning "Fast Car," the lead track on her 1st album, EZ 2 get caught-up in & no problem 2 relate-2, played 2 death by radio & it wasn't a hit? OK, so it sounds a little 2 much like Joan Armatrading, so...?
* Bee Gees: "Spirits (Having Flown)" ('79), +"First of May" (#37, '69) -- "Spirits" is from the album of the same name, & tho "Tragedy" & "Love You Inside Out" were the big hits off that album, "Spirits" got lotsa airplay on my fave radio station, KFXD-AM 580. "Spirits" is sorta a cross Btween the BGs' falsetto-voiced disco hits & a sorta lilting Caribbean waltz, w/ dramatic choruses added. & it's marvelous, probly the best thing they ever did. "First of May" is a close 2nd -- a dramatic, precise tearjerker, in the same vein as "Lonely Days" & "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," only simpler. It's the simplicity that makes it work. If U're a sucker 4 melodrama (like me), U've gotta hear this....
+ Phil Collins: "Droned/Hand in Hand" ('81) -- Dspite the presence of "In the Air Tonight" & "I Missed Again," this was the best, catchiest song on Phil's 1st solo album, FACE VALUE. It's also probly the closest 2 old Genesis, starting w/ a sorta-directionless percussion-heavy backing track w/lotsa thumb-piano&woodblock stuff, then suddenly transforms in2 a bouncy, sorta driving riff led by the Tower of Power horns, then a kids' choir joins 4 wordless vocals that sound like the sun breaking thru the clouds. The thumb-piano&woodblock returns at the Nd, sounding moody & unresolved. Instrumental mood music, sure, but....
+ Pop Tops: "Mammy Blue" ('71) -- Sorta dark, downbeat, haunting bluesy # about a guy apparently telling his troubles 2 his Mammy. Well, I liked it.... Got lotsa airplay but couldn't break in2 the Top 40.
+ Mouth and MacNeal: "Hey, You Love" ('72) -- Just as obnoxious & much less catchy than Mouth & MacNeal's 1st (& only) Top 40 hit "How Do You Do" (which I actually bot back in '72). I don't know, I'm a sucker 4 the choruses. & tho they were obnoxious, this couple made a good team.
+ Rick Astley: "But is it Commercial?" ('89) -- OK, I heard this on the radio 1nce, so it musta bn a single, right? This guy was pretty useless, but here's a song that shows he was in on The Joke. After asking the title question, Astley sings (? croons?) "If it ain't got a hook, it ain't got a hope." That's good enuf 4 me, but apparently it wasn't good enuf 4 his fans(?). Hey folks, a cheap laff's better than no laff at all....
= Frank Mills: "Love Me Love Me Love" ('72) -- From the guy who brot U "Music Box Dancer." This is a morbid, downbeat, sorta creepy ballad about lost love that never broke in2 the Top 40 but actually reached #9 on my favrite radio station, Boise, Idaho's KFXD-AM 580, back in March of '72 (Thanx, ARSA). In a lotta ways it reminds me of....
+ Jud Strunk: "Daisy A Day" (#14, '73) -- Sorta a touching country-folk ballad about Love & Death, a 1-hit-wonder 4 Strunk, who I wanta say was a regular on TV's "Hee Haw" or something. (W/ a name like that he SHOULDA bn.) I actually heard a solo-gtr-&-vocals guy per4m this song at an awards dinner a few yrs back, while people were EATING. Well, it's not offensive....
I hereby promise at some future time (probly 2morrow or soon as I can manage it) 2 print a list of all the previous Great Lost Singles I've written about at my old website, & will then go in2 shock when I realize how many of them there really R....
I also promise 2 do some more Research & get some more shockingly overlooked singles posted here.... (If possible. Initial investigations indicate I might B "singled out." Like the writer said, U can't learn much from stuff U already know....)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Great Overlooked Albums

More overkill? Just realized I've never done this 1 B4. Here's a list of my Fave Overlooked Albums of All Time. If U've read thru the previous lists & the reviews at my other website (http://www.tadsweirdassmusicandbooks.co.cc/), this list probly won't suprise U. But 4 those out there who R Brand New 2 my weirdness, here's some of the music I treasure most....

TAD's 200 Top 10 Best Overlooked Albums of All Time:
1. Providence, EVER SENSE THE DAWN (1972) -- Sorta a lighter Moody Blues album, w/ a spartan production & no mellotron. But this sextet from Boise, Idaho featured a string trio, Xcellent group vocals, & superb songs 4 a group that was so young. Best: "Fantasy Fugue," "If We Were Wise," "Neptune's Door," "The Stream," "Mountain," "Behold: A Solar Sonnet." (The most Moodies-sounding track is "Behold," which also has the biggest production & closes the album on sorta an anti-climax; it works about 8x out of 10.) This album sounds like nothing else, but '72 -- tho the era of the mellow singer-songwriter -- was apparently NOT the time 4 a band that couldn't boogie. The album sold mayB 6 copies & has never bn reissued on CD. I found my brand-new copy in a 2nd-hand record store in Boise 4 $2.19 back in 1977 -- I grabbed mine & then 4 others 4 Xmas gifts. I've never Cn NE other copies. The band apparently reunited long enuf 2 sign copies of their only album in England a coupla yrs back. I read on the 'Net a few mo's ago that Moodies producer Tony Clarke (who also produced this) said Providence had an Ntire 2nd album recorded, but the master tapes were stolen from the vault & were never recovered!
2. Gryphon, RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE (1974) -- The greatest all-instrumental prog-rock album ever. Keyboards, recorders, krumhorns, bassoon & guitar mix 4 a gorgeous medieval/folk sound that can get loud but never 2 heavy -- at times they sound almost like a cute wind-up-toy band. Mosta the compositions R AMAZING -- the 11-min "Lament" is my choice 4 the greatest prog-rock instrumental ever. The other 3 long tracks R pretty great 2, constantly inventive, bouncy, uplifting, very optimistic music. Only the closing "Checkmate" gets NEwhere near heavy, & the melody isn't perhaps quite so strong on that 1, but it still works 8x outta 10. Other greats: "Opening Move," "Second Spasm."
3. Gryphon, TREASON (1977) -- In the year of Punk Rock, Gryphon shuffles band members, adds lotsa vocals, keeps the great keybs, krumhorns, recorders & bassoons, & puts out what sounds like a kinder, gentler Jethro Tull album. & it sells about 4 copies. But it's still amazing. "Spring Song" is 10 mins of pure bliss: gorgeous melody, great lyrics, beautiful musical touches thruout, great catchy choruses -- & an opening fanfare that'll really grab yr attn. Mosta the rest is really good support. "Fall of the Leaf" is haunting; "Major Disaster" is almost a standard love song, saved by drummer Dave Oberle's Xcellent vocals; "Falero Lady" is the most Tull-like track; "Round and Round" has Xcellent choruses. "Flash in the Pantry" is 2 cute, & tellingly the weakest track on the album is a throwaway instrumental....
4. Caravan, FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT (1973) -- Caravan peaked w/ this gorgeous collection of orchestrated pop songs w/ twisted lyrics, not 4getting 2 include some dramatic punch that really sets the songs off. The dramatic 9-min opener "Memory Lain/Hugh/Headloss" shows this, opening w/ a punchy, dramatic gtr riff that leads in2 the searching lyrics. Gtrist/songwriter Pye Hastings' great vocals & stinging gtr really set-off this section, followed by a dreamy middle w/ a flute solo by brother Jimmy Hastings, then a bouncy optimistic closing w/ lotsa sunny vocals. Oh, this is just the 1st track & I've already written 60 wds about this album? Well, that's the kinda high-quality I'm babbling about. U want dreamy? Try "Surprise, Surprise," more great vocals from Pye & a gorgeous group-vocal chorus. & tho there R a coupla mis-steps in the 1st 1/2, the album just gets better as the guys hit their stride: "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" is the high point of this album, a sweet & gorgeous song about sex w/ hilarious twisted lyrics that probly will never get by NE radio program-director or censor. 2 bad, cos the sweet tune has the MOST GORGEOUS circular-vocal Nding U'll ever hear. 1 of this band's very, very best. But they keep going: "Be All Right" is a brief chugging freight-train comin right at ya, & slows down only 2 fade gently in2 Pye's moody "Chance of a Lifetime." But they're not done yet: The climax is a 12-min multi-part instrumental suite under the umbrella title "A Hunting We Shall Go...." that features some great viola accents from Geoff Richardson, more great gtr, amazing squiggly keybs from Dave Sinclair, an orchestra, & an amazing finish. They never got NE better.
5. Nick Drake, BRYTER LAYTER (1970) -- Beautiful Joe Boyd production on this classic 2nd album from British folkie Drake, who died 4 yrs later. This album Cms 2 show Drake trying 2 deal w/ a crowded urban Nvironment, & not quite succeeding: check out the lyrics on the revealing "At the Chime of a City Clock." Much of this is great mood music, a little down in places, but mostly gorgeous. "Hazey Jane II" is as bouncy & upbeat a folky # as NE1 could want, "City Clock" & "One of These Things First" R jazzy & Nchanting. "Hazey Jane I" probly sounds like most people's perceptions of Drake: sad & downbeat, but even it has great lyrics -- "Do you curse where you come from?/Do you swear in the night?/Would it mean much to you/If I treat you right?" "Fly" & "Northern Sky" R incandescently beautiful, & both feature keybs by 4mer Velvet Undergrounder John Cale. The closing "Sunday" is a gorgeous flute-based instrumental w/ orchestral backing -- Robert Kirby's string arrngmnt & Ray Warleigh's flute make the piece a perfect moody closer. Only 2 tracks fail: The title piece is a wispy nothing instrumental, & "Poor Boy" may B Drake poking fun at himself, but the backing singers & jazzy feel don't work 4 6+ mins. Otherwise: Gorgeous, moving, un4gettable.
6. Al Stewart, MODERN TIMES (1975) -- B4 he found success w/ YEAR OF THE CAT a yr later, Al partially broke-thru w/ this, which I think is his best & most consistent album ever. It's the 1st album 2 match Al up w/ producer Alan Parsons, & shows that mayB a little commercial sheen was the 1 thing Al needed. The 2nd 1/2 is virtually perfect, starting w/ the silly, bouncy "Apple Cider Reconstitution," which means Absolutely Nothing (consult the choruses if U don't Blieve me), but sure sounds good as it rolls happily along. The flip side is the following "The Dark and Rolling Sea," a saga about piracy & fate at sea, w/ beautiful lyrics that paint the picture as clearly as a movie, & a perfect last verse. The title song is the story of 2 friends separated by the yrs, who meet again in a pub -- & the song tells of the way they were & the ways they changed. The Nding is just a touch outta reach 4 me, but it's sent-off w/ Xcellent gtr work from Tim Renwick. The 1st 1/2 of the album is no slouch either, but it's lighter: "Carol" is a good opener w/ some good hooks & nice gtr. "Sirens of Titan" is a nice nod 2 Kurt Vonnegut Jr. "What's Goin On" Cms like a good-natured zing at soma Al's friends. "Not the One" & "Next Time" R soma Al's standard downbeat life-story songs, not 2 long or 2 dark. & every track works.
7. Stories, ABOUT US (1973) -- Recorded while this band was breaking up, the album includes the #1 hit "Brother Louie" (which is buried at the very Nd like an afterthot, produced by a diffrent team than did the resta the album, & I don't miss it), & a gorgeous near-miss follow-up called "Love is in Motion." There's lotsa other great stuff here 2, tho it's all jumbled up, there's no consistent mood or flow. Soma this was probly caused by the 10sions that led 2 the breakup -- biggest loss was composer/keybsman Michael Brown, who started out w/ the '60s band The Left Banke. NEway, singer Ian Lloyd stars in & nails a lotta these songs, from the Xcellent opener "Darling" thru his sweet singing on "Love is in Motion," 2 the sorta downplayed vocal on the mysterious "Words," 2 the dramatic shoulda-bn-closers "Please, Please" (possibly the best thing here, a 4got10 rock classic) & the hushed "What Comes After." Soma the more straight4ward rock songs R merely avg ("Hey France," "Top of the City," "Believe Me"), but they're good enuf, helped by a catchy chorus or Lloyd's singing. Then there's gtrist Steve Love's modest but appealing "Changes Have Begun," & Brown's infectious ragtime-piano instrumental "Circles." & there's a coupla other trax not worth mentioning cos U won't notice 'em &'ll never play em again....
8. Happy the Man, CRAFTY HANDS (1978) -- Gorgeous mostly-instrumental prog-rock album, tho the best track is the only vocal #, the 7-min "Wind-Up Doll Day Wind." But U might never get there: The brief crashing&bashing opener "Service With a Smile" will likely knock U down 1st; Ron Riddle's slamming drums, Stan Whittaker's slashing gtr, & Kit Watkins' tough keybs will DEFinitely get yr attn. The 3 instrumentals that follow ("Morning Sun," "Ibby it Is," "Steaming Pipes") R all quieter & more lyrical, but they all have moments of supreme beauty that R well worth going back 4. "Wind" is a hypnotic, robotic, mechanical # that takes awhile 2 get started (Whittaker's vocal is also a bit robotic), but 1nce it gets going, the gtr, sax & keys blow the doors off -- Wyatt's squalling sax work is especially good. The band tears this # up -- & there's also a gorgeous, moody mid-section. "Open Book" follows & is probly the most gorgeous instrumental on the album -- simple, beautiful, marvelous. The 2 tracks that close the album, "I Forgot to Push It" & "The Moon, I Sing (Nossuri)" R OK but R outclassed by the rest....
9. Group 87, (1ST) (1980) -- The 2nd-best all-instrumental rock album of all time. U should immediately go 2 the last track, the stunning "One Night Away From Day," a gorgeous, anthemic mix of simple keyboard theme, Xcellent mournful sax work by Mark Isham, & great gtr by writer Peter Maunu. Then work yr way back 2 the opening, "Future of the City," a slow-developing curtain-raiser that gains strength as it goes, & transforms in2 a catchy march that un4tun8ly fades-out just as it's getting REALLY GOOD. "Moving Sidewalks" & "Magnificent Clockworks" carry on the high-tech theme, w/ breaks 4 synthesized washes like "Frontiers: 1856" & "Hall of Glass," nice oddities like "Sublime Feline," & the hypnotic thump of "The Bedouin." Xcellent drumming from Terry Bozzio.
10. The Hollies, ROMANY (1972) -- Recorded after Allan Clarke left the band 4 an aborted solo career, but B4 he returned due 2 the big hit "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress," this 1 album w/ Swedish singer Michael Rickfors has occasional problems -- it's a little arty -- but mosta the songs R quite Xcellent. The opener "Magic Woman Touch" is a Hollies classic that shoulda bn a huge hit -- the vocals R really strong, & the wordless vocal fadeout is great. "Slow Down" & "Won't We Feel Good" R almost as great -- strong vocals & great choruses. "Words Don't Come Easy" is a hushed, dramatic # that depicts a crowd waiting 4 something -- U interpret. Other greats: the arty counterparts "Romany" (sounds like something Van Morrison coulda written) & "Touch," David Ackles' "Down River," Judee Sill's "Jesus Was a Crossmaker," "Blue in the Morning." "Courage of Your Convictions" is perhaps a little simple & transparent. Only "Delaware Taggett and the Outlaw Boys" is stupid. Alan Parsons co-engineered the album.
Bangles: ALL OVER THE PLACE (1984). Louder, more aggressive, angrier than their huge breakthru hit album DIFFERENT LIGHT. But the gorgeous breathy stuff is here 2. My fave is "Dover Beach."
Camel: NUDE (1980) & BREATHLESS (1978). NUDE is a gorgeous nearly-all-instrumental concept album. BREATHLESS is a lot more commercial. Both R great stuff by this underrated band.
Caravan: BLIND DOG AT ST. DUNSTAN'S (1976). Only a couple tracks fail. & then there's the perfect "All the Way (With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation of Paris)" -- Dspite the title, it's 1 of the most beautiful wistful love songs U've never heard.
Clannad: MACALLA (1986). Not enuf contrast Btween tunes, but great moody stuff. "Journey's End" shoulda bn a huge hit, & mosta the rest is dark, ghostly, downbeat -- especially the stuff sung in Gaelic....
Dire Straits: MAKIN' MOVIES (1980). Their best, most consistent album. If only "Telegraph Road" were on here 2. Fades just a bit at the Nd.
Charlie Dore: LISTEN! (1980). A touch mushy in places, but Dore's lite voice benefits from Stewart Levine's precise production & a backing band that's basically Toto. "Don't Say No" & "Wise to the Lines" especially R classics.
Electric Light Orchestra: TIME (1980). Great science-fiction concept album, which doesn't neglect the cheezier aspects. "Twilight" is a classic, & "The Way Life's Meant to Be" is almost a textbook-perfect pop song. MayB that's why it made no known chart.... U'll even love the filler, of which there is quite a bit.
Genesis: A TRICK OF THE TALE (1976). After Peter Gabriel left but B4 they Bcame superstars. Gorgeous story-songs w/ great keybs & gtr. My faves R "Ripples" & "Madman Moon," but "Robbery, Assault and Battery" is a hoot & mosta the others R pretty great. Fades a bit at the Nd.
Glass Moon: (1ST) (1980). Florida band does a great Genesis impersonation, & a killer version of Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill." But "Sundays and Mondays" is the 4got10 classic.
Go-Go's: TALK SHOW (1984). 1 of the best pop albums ever.
Hawkwind: HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN GRILL (1974). Heavy space-rock. "You'd Better Believe It" is GREAT, & Mick Farren & Lemmy's dark & driving "Lost Johnny" kicks ass!
Justin Hayward & John Lodge: BLUE JAYS (1975). Recorded during the Moody Blues' vacation in the mid-'70s, a bit heavy on the strings in places, but "When You Wake Up" is GREAT & mosta the rest woulda improved NE other Moodies album.
Illusion: OUT OF THE MIST (1977). The best Renaissance-style album ever. Gorgeous songs, great vocals by Jane Relf, great keybs & gtr -- if U like Renaissance's style of art-rock, U'll love this.
The Jam: SETTING SONS (1979). New Wave concept album, mostly brilliant. Best is the scorching "Private Hell," but "Little Boy Soldiers," "Thick as Thieves" & mosta the others R simple smash&bash greatness. Also features the worst cover version of the old '60s Motown hit "Heat Wave" that U'll never wanna hear again.
Moody Blues: THE PRESENT (1983). Their best, most consistent album ever.
Sally Oldfield: WATER BEARER (1978). Gorgeous "Lord of the Rings" music.
Outlaws: GHOST RIDERS (1981). Not perfect, but heavily under-rated southern-flavored country-rock. The screaming "Devil's Road" & the classic country weeper "I Can't Stop Loving You" R especially good. Fades quite a bit at the Nd....
Shoes: PRESENT TENSE (1980). Gorgeous breathy new-wave love songs.
Sky: SKY 2 (1980). Often gorgeous instrumental art-rock, sometimes w/ heavy drama ("Vivaldi," "Toccata"), & occasional incandescent liteness ("Scipio," "Watching the Aeroplanes").
Grace Slick: DREAMS (1980). Talk about drama....
Split Enz: WAIATA (1980). Goofy but great!
Tubes: REMOTE CONTROL (1979). TV-obsession concept album w/ great shoulda-bn hits like the brilliant "I Want it All Now," the smooth "Prime Time," & the big almost-normal ballad "Love's a Mystery (I Don't Understand)." Todd Rundgren produced.
U.K.: (1ST) (1978). Almost every track works. King Crimson fans should love it.
U2: BOY (1980). Great singing, gorgeous gtrs. & the lyrics mean...?
Suzanne Vega: (1ST) (1984). Pristine '80s folk.
Wigwam: NUCLEAR NIGHTCLUB (1974). Folky, heavy, silly. The rumbling & ominous "Bless Your Lucky Stars" is GREAT & I can't understand a word of it....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Great Reading

Haven't talked much about the Books Nd of this thing. Here's a quick list of some Great Overlooked Reading just off the toppa my head. Mosta this is science fiction, fantasy & horror, w/ some occasional non-fiction (usually music-related) thrown-in, or whatever else grabbed me at the time. Novel & short-story collection titles R in UPPER CASE, story titles R printed in normal style....
Brian Aldiss -- TRILLION YEAR SPREE (Xcellent history of SF).
J.G. Ballard -- The Cloud Sculptors of Coral-D, Venus Smiles, The Voices of Time, The Terminal Beach.
Neil Barron -- ANATOMY OF WONDER (capsule-reviews of 100's of SF novels, priceless).
Gael Baudino -- GOSSAMER AXE.
Algis Budrys -- BENCHMARKS (great '60s SF book reviews!).
Pat Cadigan -- It Was the Heat.
Robert Christgau -- CHRISTGAU'S RECORD GUIDES TO THE '70s & '80s (Xcellent & sometimes brutal record reviews).
John Clute -- STROKES ('70s-'80s book reviews), current on-line book reviews.
Roger Dean -- VIEWS (great '70s album art).
Samuel R. Delany -- EMPIRE STAR, THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION, We in Some Strange Power's Employ Move on a Rigorous Line.
Richard DiLello -- THE LONGEST COCKTAIL PARTY (great memoir about working at the Beatles' Apple Records in the late '60s).
Cory Doctorow -- When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth.
Gardner R. Dozois -- YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION (HUGE annual collection of the field's best short stories), A Special Kind of Morning.
Harlan Ellison -- THE GLASS TEAT, THE OTHER GLASS TEAT (2 angry volumes of '60s-'70s TV criticism), THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON (best-of), Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes, Eidolons, From A to Z in the Chocolate Alphabet, A Boy and His Dog, 'Repent Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, The Deathbird, Sleeping Dogs, Alive and Well and On a Friendless Voyage, Basilisk.
Karen Joy Fowler -- The Faithful Companion at 40.
William Gibson -- NEUROMANCER, Burning Chrome, The Winter Market, Hinterlands, The Gernsback Continuum.
David Hartwell & Katherine Cramer -- YEAR'S BEST SF (annual collection of the field's best short stories).
Frank Herbert -- DUNE, CHILDREN OF DUNE.
Hipgnosis -- WALK AWAY RENE (great photos & hilarious stories about Dsigning album covers 4 '70s rock artists).
K.W. Jeter -- MANTIS.
Gwyneth Jones -- Red Sonia and Lessingham in Dreamland.
Damon Knight -- THE MAN IN THE TREE (1st 1/2).
Jon Krakauer -- INTO THIN AIR.
Edward Lee -- COVEN.
Ursula K. LeGuin -- Vaster Than Empires and More Slow, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.
Graeme Leman -- Conversational Mode.
Ian MacDonald -- REVOLUTION IN THE HEAD (best book ever about the Beatles' music & their effect on society).
Barry N. Malzberg -- Le Croix (The Cross), THE ENGINES OF THE NIGHT (SF essays & criticism), essays & story-intros from his short-story collections, book reviews.
Dave Marsh -- BEFORE I GET OLD (Who biography), THE HEART OF ROCK AND SOUL (great reviews of Marsh's 1,001 greatest rock & soul singles ever), ROLLING STONE RECORD GUIDE (a book U'll B thrilled 2 throw across the room).
George R.R. Martin -- DYING OF THE LIGHT, WINDHAVEN (w/ Lisa Tuttle), With Morning Comes Mistfall, A Song for Lya, The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr, Night Shift, This Tower of Ashes, The Plague Star, Guardians, Nightflyers, Sandkings, The Way of Cross and Dragon, The Stone City, In the House of the Worm, Meathouse Man.
Bruce McAllister -- When the Fathers Go, Dream Baby.
Ian McDonald -- DESOLATION ROAD (1st 1/2), Vivaldi, Rainmaker Cometh, Toward Kilimanjaro.
Rick Moody -- The Albertine Notes.
Frederik Pohl -- GATEWAY, The Merchants of Venus.
Byron Preiss -- THE BEACH BOYS.
David Pringle -- ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION (Xcellent reading guide!).
Dominic Priore -- LOOK! LISTEN! VIBRATE! SMILE! (scrapbook of articles about the Beach Boys' lost album SMILE, covers 30 yrs of rumors & Dtective work).
Alastair Reynolds -- Beyond the Aquila Rift.
Kim Stanley Robinson -- Green Mars, Discovering Life, A History of the 20th Century with Illustrations, Mother Goddess of the World, Escape from Kathmandu, Exploring Fossil Canyon.
Spider Robinson -- Stardance (w/ Jeanne Robinson), Unnatural Causes or The Guy We Couldn't Help, book reviews 4 Galaxy & Analog.
Joanna Russ -- THE TWO OF THEM, WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO.... (1st 1/2), '60's-'80s SF book reviews 4 The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
Jon Savage -- ENGLAND'S DREAMING (history of the Sex Pistols & the rise of Punk Rock).
Nicholas Schaffner -- SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS (Pink Floyd bio).
Lucius Shepard -- The Man Who Painted the Dragon Graiule, A Little Night Music.
Lewis Shiner -- GLIMPSES, Love in Vain.
Robert Silverberg -- DYING INSIDE, DOWNWARD TO THE EARTH, THE BOOK OF SKULLS, THE MAN IN THE MAZE, Hawksbill Station, To See The Invisible Man, Sundance, The Fangs of the Trees, Waiting for the Earthquake, A Thousand Paces Along the Via Dolorosa, We Are for the Dark.
Dan Simmons -- Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds, SONG OF KALI.
Norman Spinrad -- A Journal of the Plague Years, A Child of Mind.
Neal Stephenson -- SNOW CRASH.
Bruce Sterling -- HEAVY WEATHER, Dori Bangs, THE HACKER CRACKDOWN, Green Days in Brunei.
Bruce Sterling & Lewis Shiner -- Mozart in Mirrorshades.
James Tiptree Jr. -- A Momentary Taste of Being, BRIGHTNESS FALLS FROM THE AIR, The Screwfly Solution, The Last Flight of Dr. Ain, On the Last Afternoon, The Only Neat Thing to Do, Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, Painwise.
John Varley -- STEEL BEACH, In the Hall of the Martian Kings, The Persistence of Vision, Bagatelle, Press Enter.
Kate Wilhelm -- Baby You Were Great, The Village.
Connie Willis -- All My Darling Daughters.
Roger Zelazny -- CREATURES OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS, The Doors of His Face The Lamps of His Mouth, He Who Shapes, The Man Who Loved The Faioli, This Moment of the Storm, This Mortal Mountain, Lucifer, For a Breath I Tarry, The Engine at Heartspring's Center, Permafrost, Unicorn Variation, THE DOORS OF HIS FACE THE LAMPS OF HIS MOUTH AND OTHER STORIES.
...2 B Continued....

Technical notes, etc....

As long as it keeps working, let's assume that the 225 reviews & posts at my old website (http://www.tadsweirdassmusicandbooks.co.cc/) R incorporated here by reference, as they say in legal circles. Which means if U've just stumbled over this blog & U wanna know what I'm gonna B up 2 here, the old site's a good place 2 look-up 4 a quick idea. (& hopefully I won't lose all those old posts.)
Let's also assume I have the right 2 change my opinion; alter, delete & add 2 my lists of Great Stuff; learn about New Great Stuff; recycle soma my older mayB-not-thoroughly-thot-out reviews in2 stunning brand-new reviews 4 a new location; & suddenly discover Great Music (& Books) I've had in the house 4 30 yrs but have always bn 2 lazy 2 listen-2 or read. (I've always bn slow w/ the obvious stuff -- took me 3 yrs 2 realize the Cars' 1st album was pretty great; took me a decade 2 Dcide Madonna was an Artist; took me 20 yrs 2 realize Led Zeppelin was pretty great; still not sure about Prince....)
I'm old, I'm cranky, I can't always remember stuff. I can remember 1971 better than I can remember last wk (& even then it ain't always so clear). Soho, needless 2 say, the Nostalgia level is probly gonna B pretty high. Those R The Rules & U have bn warned.... On w/ the show....

Favrite Overlooked/4got10 Songs of All Time....

As an intro, I thot I'd post a LONG list of my Favrite Overlooked or 4got10 Songs of All Time. This list otta at least let U know what kinda odd musical taste I've got & what U're in 4 as U read further. This is an Xpanded list based on 1 originally published at my buddy RS Crabb's MySpace blog (http://blogs.myspace.com/townedger), & appears here w/ his approval. This list is at LEAST 2wice as long as the original (AMAZING what research can do), & tho the Top 10 & my comments there R the same (as near as I can remember), the long list of Honorable Mentions is much Xpanded. (I like lists.)
I'll TRY not 2 include NE Top 40 singles or Album Rock Classics (tho I love those 2) -- just the overlooked & 4got10 stuff here. Survive this & we'll talk more....

TAD's 200:
1. Gryphon, "Lament" (1974) -- The greatest prog-rock instrumental EVER. 11 gorgeous mins of recorder, krumhorn, bassoon, keybs & gtrs -- sad, mournful, stirring, & finally life-affirming. I want it played at my funeral.
2. Gryphon, "Spring Song" (1977) -- 10 mins of perfection, like a kinder, gentler Jethro Tull. Return of the krumhorns, recorders & bassoon, but with more gorgeous keybs & an Olde English fantasy lyric that brings all the parts 2gether. Like "Lament," this shoulda bn an art-rock classic EVERYBODY knows, & this band shoulda bn HUGE.
3. Fleetwood Mac, "Silver Springs" (1977) -- The B-side of "Go Your Own Way," shoulda bn included on RUMOURS, FINALLY gotta Grammy nomination 15 yrs later after a version was released on the Mac's live comeback album THE DANCE. Probly Stevie Nicks' best song ever, 4 gorgeous mins of heartbroken anguish, w/ great gtr by Lindsey Buckingham & an angry, bitter, stunning vocal fadeout.
4. Happy the Man, "Wind-Up Doll Day Wind" (1978) -- The best American prog-rock band? MayB. This mechanical, robotic # takes awhile 2 get started, but Kit Watkins' gorgeous keybs & Frank Wyatt's great sax blow the song wide open from the middle-break on, & Stan Whittaker's gtr joins in 4 a climax that's a total screeching blowout. Ron Riddle's smash&bash drumming ain't no slouch neither. Well worth the 7 mins.
5. Nick Drake, "Northern Sky" (1970) -- Gorgeous British folk from this moody singer-songwriter who died way 2 young. Possibly the best song ever written about the cosmic importance of love, as clear as a cool cloudless nite, w/ gorgeous keybs by former Velvet Undergrounder John Cale.
6. Providence, "Fantasy Fugue" (1972) -- From my fave 4got10 album of all time, EVER SENSE THE DAWN. The album's sorta a lighter Moody Blues record, & this is the closest thing on it 2 a singalong. Actually got some radio play in my (& Providence's) hometown, Boise, Idaho. Great group vocals, nice string trio, & autoharp -- who else woulda done it?
7. Moody Blues, "You and Me" (1972) -- 4 me their most striking song ever, shoulda led-off their SEVENTH SOJOURN album. The best mix ever of drummer Graeme Edge's poetry & gtrist Justin Hayward's commercial-hook-writing sense. The choruses R classic, the verses R gorgeous, & Hayward's gtr at the Nd is pretty striking 2. This shoulda bn a huge hit up there w/ "Nights in White Satin."
8. Caravan, "The Dog, The Dog, He's At It Again" (1973) -- Probly the sweetest song about sex U'll ever hear, w/ the MOST GORGEOUS circular-vocal Nding EVER. Great vocals by gtrist/songwriter Pye Hastings & the resta the group, great keybs by Dave Sinclair, & nice viola by Geoff Richardson. As EZ 2 get in2 as Fleetwood Mac, even if the song is narrated by a self-confessed dirty old man & there's refrences 2 legs, thighs & oral sex -- no airplay 4 this 1! But a CLASSIC!
9. Kate Bush, "This Woman's Work" (1989) -- This gorgeous piano&vocal tune was originally used in John Hughes' movie SHE'S HAVING A BABY, but the lyrics work in a variety of contexts. It was always a great song, & my son's absolute fave song in the WORLD when he was 2 -- but it's come 2 mean even more 2 me since the death of my mother. The sense of regret & loss Xpressed in the choruses is amazing, & the stunning vocal climax is almost 2 much 4 me 2 take now. Tough but brilliant.
10. King Crimson, "Starless" (1974) -- 12 mins from The Nd Of The World. Perfect music 4 plunging down a steep mtn rd w/o brakes. BRILLIANT gtr (by Robert Fripp), sax (by Ian McDonald) & percussion -- Bill Bruford sounds like he's bn waiting his whole LIFE 2 play this song & hava chance 2 flail & bash at his drum kit & what sounds like miked-up sheets of aluminum siding.... Dark, moody, riveting.
Joan Armatrading -- Persona Grata, Temptation, When I Get it Right, I Love it When You Call Me Names.
Badfinger -- In the Meantime/Some Other Time.
Bangles -- Let it Go, Dover Beach, Everything I Wanted, I'll Set You Free.
Barclay James Harvest -- Spirit on the Water, Hymn, Ring of Changes, The Song They Love to Sing, Play to the World, Taking Some Time On.
Bare Naked Ladies -- What a Good Boy, Light Up My Room, I'll Be That Girl, Alcohol, Never is Enough, Who Needs Sleep?, Some Fantastic, Get in Line.
Beach Boys -- Surf's Up, 'Til I Die, Cabinessence, Here Today, It's About Time, God Only Knows, Let's Go Away for Awhile, Trombone Dixie, Let Him Run Wild, Please Let Me Wonder, Kiss Me Baby, This Whole World, Long Promised Road, Feel Flows, Good Timin', Good Time, There's No Other (Like My Baby).
Beatles -- There's a Place, Things We Said Today, Across the Universe, Dear Prudence, Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey, I Am the Walrus, I Need You, The Night Before, Anytime at All, Wait, And Your Bird Can Sing, You've Really Got a Hold On Me, Oh Darling, Tell Me Why, Old Brown Shoe.
Be-Bop Deluxe -- Sleep That Burns.
Blondie -- Angels on the Balcony, Union City Blue, Victor, Atomic.
Blue Oyster Cult -- Astronomy, Morning Final, E.T.I.
Boston -- Hitch a Ride, Used to Bad News, My Destination.
Bread -- Been Too Long on the Road.
Brewer & Shipley -- Witchi-Tai-To.
Kate Bush -- Empty Bullring, December Will Be Magic Again, Cloudbusting, Running Up That Hill, The Man With the Child in His Eyes, Saxophone Song, Wow.
Byrds -- John Riley, I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better, Ballad of Easy Rider, Chestnut Mare, Chimes of Freedom, Bells of Rhymney.
Camel -- Manic, Sasquatch, City Life, Spirit of the Water, Breathless, Echoes, Never Let Go, Unevensong, Rhayader/Rhayader Goes to Town, Flight of the Snow Goose.
Captain and Tennille -- Ladybug.
Caravan -- Place of My Own, Dissociation, The World is Yours, Memory Lain/Hugh/Headloss, Be All Right, Virgin on the Ridiculous, For Richard (live), Can You Hear Me?, All the Way (With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation of Paris), The Dabsong Conshirtoe (opening).
Mary-Chapin Carpenter -- Passionate Kisses, This Shirt, You Win Again, The Long Way Home.
Cars -- Bye Bye Love, Dangerous Type.
Carlene Carter -- Every Little Thing, Sweet Meant to Be.
Chicago -- In Terms of Two.
The Church -- Reptile.
Clannad -- In Fortune's Hand, The Wild Cry, Journey's End.
Bruce Cockburn -- Incandescent Blue.
Coheed and Cambria -- The Road and the Damned, Feathers.
Crack the Sky -- Lighten Up McGraw (live).
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young -- Carry On, Deja Vu, Wooden Ships, Find the Cost of Freedom.
Sandy Denny -- Listen Listen.
Dire Straits -- Telegraph Road, Going Home (Theme from LOCAL HERO), Romeo and Juliet, Hand in Hand, Love Over Gold.
Nick Drake -- Hazey Jane II, At the Chime of a City Clock, Fly, Cello Song, From the Morning, Things Behind the Sun, Pink Moon, Sunday.
Dream Academy -- The Edge of Forever, In Places on the Run, This World, Bound to Be.
Bob Dylan -- One of Us Must Know.
Electric Light Orchestra -- Twilight, The Way Life's Meant to Be, Confusion, 10538 Overture.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer -- Fanfare for the Common Man (long version), Karn Evil 9 (First Impression).
Enya -- Storms in Africa.
Fairport Convention -- Come All Ye, I'll Keep it With Mine, Tale in Hard Time, Million Dollar Bash.
Fleet Foxes -- Blue Ridge Mountains.
Fleetwood Mac -- I Know I'm Not Wrong, The Farmer's Daughter, Sisters of the Moon, I'm So Afraid (live), Monday Morning (live), Isn't it Midnight?, Tango in the Night, World Turning, Murrow Rolling Over in His Grave, The Green Manalishi, Oh Well.
FM -- Phasors on Stun, Journey.
Dan Fogelberg -- Phoenix, Nexus, Along the Road, A Place in the World for a Gambler, Tell Me to My Face.
Fotheringay -- The Way I Feel.
Peter Gabriel -- Family Snapshot.
Genesis -- Ripples, Madman Moon, Vancouver, Inside and Out, Afterglow, Your Own Special Way, Undertow, You Might Recall.
Gentle Giant -- Think of Me With Kindness, Funny Ways (live), His Last Voyage, Time to Kill, Pentegruel's Nativity, The Advent of Panurge, Raconteur Troubadour, The Power and the Glory (single).
Glass Moon -- Solsbury Hill, Sundays and Mondays.
Go-Go's -- Can't Stop the World, You Thought, Forget That Day, Capture the Light, I'm With You.
Golden Earring -- Snot Love in Spain.
Grateful Dead -- Terrapin Part 1, Passenger, Uncle John's Band.
Gryphon -- The Ploughboy's Dream, Ethelion, (Ein Klein) Heldenleben, Wallbanger, Fall of the Leaf, Major Disaster.
Guess Who -- Road Food.
Daryl Hall -- Something in 4/4 Time.
Happy the Man -- Service With a Smile, Open Book.
Hawkwind -- You'd Better Believe It.
Justin Hayward & John Lodge -- When You Wake Up.
Heart -- Rockin' Heaven Down, Love Alive.
Janis Ian -- When the Party's Over, From Me to You, In the Winter, Watercolors.
Illusion -- Everywhere You Go, Candles are Burning.
Jade Warrior -- A Winter's Tale.
Keith Jarrett -- Country.
Jefferson Airplane -- Good Shepherd, Crown of Creation, We Can Be Together, Volunteers.
Jefferson Starship -- Save Your Love, All Nite Long, Freedom at Point Zero, Fading Lady Light, Winds of Change.
Jethro Tull -- Baker Street Muse, Fat Man, Teacher, Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day, The Third Hoorah, The Whistler, Dark Ages, Dun Ringill, ...And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps, One Brown Mouse, Back to the Family.
Elton John -- Teacher I Need You, Gray Seal, Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Ego.
Rickie Lee Jones -- We Belong Together, On Saturday Afternoons in 1963.
Norah Jones -- Shoot the Moon, The Long Day is Over.
Journey -- Daydream, People and Places, Escape, Troubled Child.
Kansas -- Miracles Out of Nowhere, Questions of My Childhood, Journey From Mariabronn, Cheyenne Anthem, Reason to Be.
Keane -- Bend and Break, This is the Last Time.
Kinks -- Victoria, Apeman, Shangri-La, Dead End Street, Village Green Preservation Society.
King Crimson -- Frame By Frame, Sleepless, The Great Deceiver, Doctor Diamond (live), Larks 1&2 (live), Fracture (live), The Talking Drum (live).
Led Zeppelin -- The Rover, Over the Hills and Far Away, When the Levee Breaks, Carouselambra.
Left Banke -- Desiree.
Gordon Lightfoot -- Summer Side of Life, 10 Degrees and Getting Colder, Seven Islands Suite, Beautiful, The Circle is Small.
Lobo -- A Simple Man.
Love -- You Set the Scene, Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale, Alone Again Or.
Jeff Lynne -- Lift Me Up, Every Little Thing.
Madonna -- The Look of Love, Bad Girl, Dear Jessie, Oh Father.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band -- Stranded.
Carolyne Mas -- Stillsane, Sadie Says.
Lyle Mays -- Ascent.
Pat Metheny -- San Lorenzo, New Chatauqua, The Search, Ozark, Praise, The First Circle, As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls (theme).
Joni Mitchell -- Raised on Robbery, Coyote.
Modern English -- I Melt With You, Carry Me Down.
Monkees -- Tapioca Tundra, Love is Only Sleeping, Your Auntie Grizelda, Take a Giant Step, As We Go Along.
Moody Blues -- Simple Game, Eyes of a Child Part 2, It's Up to You, You Can Never Go Home, For My Lady, Meanwhile, Nervous, Veteran Cosmic Rocker, In My World, Blue World, Sorry, Gypsy, Our Guessing Game, One More Time to Live, Peak Hour.
Motorhead -- Killed By Death, Born to Raise Hell.
The Move -- Message from the Country, Do Ya.
Nektar -- It's All Over, Do You Believe in Magic?, King of Twilight.
New Order -- Regret.
The Nice -- America, Rondo.
1994: -- Our Time Will Come.
Tom Petty -- Even the Losers.
Pink Floyd -- Flaming, Astronome Domine (live), High Hopes.
Pogues -- Lorelei, Fairytale of New York.
Police -- Omegaman, Secret Journey, On Any Other Day, Does Everyone Stare?
Pretenders -- Mystery Achievement, Message of Love, Talk of the Town, 2000 Miles, Lovers of Today, Kid, Stop Your Sobbing, Birds of Paradise.
Procol Harum -- Wreck of the Hesperus, Shine on Brightly, A Salty Dog, In Held T'was In I (live) (2nd 1/2).
Providence -- If We Were Wise, Neptune's Door, The Stream.
Queen -- '39, The Prophet's Song, Need Your Lovin' Tonight, Rock It (Prime Jive), It's Late.
Renaissance -- Ashes Are Burning (live, 1st 3 mins), Can You Understand? (live), Running Hard (live), Northern Lights, Rahan Khan.
REO Speedwagon -- Blazing Your Own Trail Again.
Scarlet Rivera -- Day of the Unicorn.
Roches -- Hammond Song, Quitting Time.
Rollers -- Hello and Welcome Home, Stoned Houses #2.
Roxy Music -- The Thrill of it All, Over You, Same Old Scene.
Todd Rundgren -- Saving Grace, Couldn't I Just Tell You?, The Very Last Time (w/Utopia).
Rush -- Time Stand Still, Force Ten, Distant Early Warning, Manhattan Project, Mystic Rhythms (live), The Camera Eye.
Shoes -- Too Late, In My Arms Again, Now and Then, Every Girl.
Sky -- Vivaldi, Watching the Aeroplanes, Where Opposites Meet, Scipio.
Grace Slick -- Full Moon Man.
Jordin Sparks -- Now You Tell Me, Tattoo, Worth the Wait.
Spider -- Shady Lady, New Romance (It's a Mystery).
Split Enz -- Hard Act to Follow, History Never Repeats, Albert of India, Six Months in a Leaky Boat, Poor Boy, Clumsy, Wail.
Squeeze -- Pulling Mussells from the Shell.
Steeleye Span -- Allison Gross, All Around My Hat, One Misty Moisty Morning, Fighting for Strangers.
Steely Dan -- Gaucho, Any Major Dude Will Tell You, My Old School.
Al Stewart -- Modern Times, Apple Cider Reconstitution, Flying Sorcery, Almost Lucy, Valentina Way, Rocks in the Ocean, Running Man.
Stories -- Please Please, Love is in Motion, What Comes After.
Strawbs -- Where is This Dream Of Your Youth?, Down by the Sea, Hero and Heroine, Part of the Union.
Supertramp -- Babajii, From Now On, Crime of the Century, Child of Vision, Gone Hollywood, Just Another Nervous Wreck.
Sutherland Bros & Quiver -- You've Got Me Anyway, Arms of Mary.
Tears for Fears -- The Working Hour, Broken.
Steve Tibbetts -- Ur.
Pam Tillis -- Whenever You Walk in the Room, Homeward Looking Angel, Melancholy Child.
Pete Townshend -- Slit Skirts, Now and Then, A Little is Enough, North Country Girl.
Turtles -- Lady-O, We'll Meet Again.
Judie Tzuke -- Stay With Me 'til Dawn, These Are the Laws, Welcome to the Cruise.
U.K. -- Time to Kill.
Vangelis -- Alpha, Spiral, To the Unknown Man.
Suzanne Vega -- Cracking, Knight Moves, Small Blue Thing.
Waterboys -- A Life of Sundays.
Weather Report -- Bahia/Boogie Woogie Waltz medley (live).
The Who -- Relay, Bell Boy, Doctor Jimmy, Blue Red and Grey, Slip Kid, Daily Records, Another Tricky Day.
Wigwam -- Bless Your Lucky Stars, Simple Human Kindness, Do or Die.
Steve Winwood -- Still in the Game.
Yes -- Your Move, The South Side of the Sky, Close to the Edge (live), Wonderous Stories, Turn of the Century, No Opportunity Necessary No Experience Needed, America, Looking Around, Every Little Thing.