Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joe Walsh - "Dreams"

Just when you think you have one of your favorite artists more-or-less pegged, they throw you a wonderful curve. Joe Walsh is one of those artists I've declared a favorite of mine, based purely on the strength of his unique guitarin' skills, his fun-loving attitude which is infectious (and infused in his music), and the strength of his two Asylum-era albums: "But Seriously, Folks..." and There Goes The Neighborhood. I own a whole lot of his solo albums (my big gaps are the individual James Gang albums and the live album You Can't Argue With A Sick Mind; everything else I own in one format or another, sometimes multiple formats). Two recent additions are vinyl copies of both So What and The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, both on original ABC Dunhill. The former has some great tunes, but sort of let me down. The latter has found ways to quietly blow my mind...

This song in particular, "Dreams", is just such a wonderful departure from what one would expect of a "typical" Joe Walsh song. In this song, there are elements of Todd Rundgren circa Runt: Ballad Of Todd Rundgren, Carole King, and Leon Russell. Yet the results are also very much of Joe Walsh. It's fascinating that the lead instrument is piano; Joe's known primarily as a force to be reckoned with on guitar, yet songs like this one and "Pretty Maids In A Row" off of Hotel California remind the world that he's no slouch writing (and peforming) a song on piano.

I guess that I've sort of placed a lower priority on discovering the Smoker You Drink... album until recently, maybe because "Rocky Mountain Way" is such a cliche song. Yet I've always loved "Meadows", which you think would have encouraged me to want to find out more about the source LP. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that it's taken me as long as it has to really get to know this album, and I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get.

Off-topic:I'm sorry I'm sort of slacking on Blogvember; life is funny, and so are one's priorities. Don't count me out yet, I'm just nowhere near as prolific as I'd hoped.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My Stack 'O Tunes for 11/3

Part of a high-volume blog month is the cliche filler post. At the very least, they call attention to tunes we didn't know existed, or merely serve to illuminate the headspace of the blogger. Here's a quick look at what today's tuneage consists of:

  • Gene Chandler, "Groovy Situation" / "Not The Marrying Kind": Gene Chandler is most famous for "Duke of Earl", which was recorded for Vee-Jay in Chicago. When that label crashed and burned in 1966, Chandler went up the street to Mercury Records (also, at that time, in Chicago), and recorded this big hit ("Groovy Situation", that is). The flip side is the one that always hooked me as a kid; I was given this record by my Aunt Margie, from whom a very large portion of my singles collection stems. She thought I might like it (keep in mind I was, like, nine years old). Listening back to "Marrying Kind", it's just as great as I remember it.

  • Jerry Butler and Betty Everett, "Let It Be Me": This chestnut comes to my attention via my recent acquisition of The Story of Vee-Jay, a budget-priced double CD of the late great Chicago record company. The song is bathed in symphonic string crescendos worthy of Mr. Spector; Butler and Everett make what could have been a bathetic paean of love instead be a soaring plea that if Heaven is your love, may it never end. Gorgeous.

  • Peter, Paul, and Mary, "Flora": The B-side to "Blowin' In The Wind" is a quickly-strummed tale of a faithless lover and of jealousy turned to murder. Great little song.

  • The Ventures, "Walk, Don't Run '64": The surf-guitar classic gets updated, though not necessarily improved or ruined. It's still a great song, regardless of the overlaid Farfisa organ and echoey arrangememts.

  • Apocalypse Hoboken, Daterape Nation EP: I've had this one in my collection since the '90s. I'd played one cut of the EP ("Pop Sensibilities") pretty regularly at the time of its release, but couldn't delve too much further (for on-air purposes, anyway) due to its punk-rock-but-not-FCC-friendly language. I finally revisited it, knowing that they might have hailed from my current hometown, and it's awesome pop-punk as sung by Johnny Rotten's cousin. Awesome; I wonder if this ever made it onto CD. My copy is a double 7", in a gatefold sleeve.

P.S.: MSWord 2010 really stinks as an ad-hoc HTML editor!!

Monday, November 01, 2010

You Know Your Daughter Is A Rocker...

...when, at 3 years old, she can fall asleep in a moving car with The Clash's Give 'Em Enough Rope playing in the background. That's my girl. And he's a rocker because he can recognize Cheap Trick's At Budokan album before they even start singing. That's my boy!!

Welcome to Blogvember!

OK, so I've been a bit of a Chinese Democratic blogger recently; this space has gone fallow for way too long. So just to prove to myself that I can do it, I am going to attempt to post at least once per day during this month of November. Now I will beg your pardon in advance during Thanksgiving week; I know I'm gonna be visiting family and friends in the fine states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey during that week. Needless to say, my access to the 'Web during those weeks may be spotty. Therefore, let me clarify: since there are 30 days in this month, I will attempt to have at least 30 posts before December rolls around. Fair enough?

Here's some of the stuff you can expect to see:
  • More Blues Brothers novelization pages
  • More explanations of cool stuff in my collection
  • Another visit to Tuffy The Cat's Museum Of Obsolete Entertainment Mediums
  • Reviews of classic albums you either know or don't know, and why I think their indispensible
  • And much, much more!!
So check in every once in a while; you might like what you see. And yes, I do take requests... so comment / flame / suggest all you want.