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Old 06-22-2012, 06:52 PM   #1361 (permalink)
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Like this one from Journey. Nice to hear them rockin' out. Well, sort of. This is “Girl can't help it”.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:07 AM   #1362 (permalink)
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Pyromania --- Def Leppard --- 1983 (Vertigo)


A real fun record, "Pyromania" was Def Leppard's third, and it broke them wide open. Coming at the height of the emergence of the NWOBHM, it hit the right chord, and the presence of producer extraordinaire Robert John "Mutt" Lange helped a lot too. He also co-writes much of the album, but it's really the infectious, honest enthusiasm of the album that scores for me. It just sounds like a bunch of guys having fun rockin'!

Some great tracks: "Photograph" of course, "Rock of ages" and "Rock rock! (Til you drop"), all fine metal rockers, with an emphasis on the softer edge of the metal scene, but for me it's "Die hard the hunter" that's the standout, with its powerful guitars and helicopter noises, Joe Elliot screaming the lyric and making you believe he IS the guy in the song!

Personally, I don't think Leppard ever equalled this. It was one of a kind, and though they went on to be very successful, "Pyromania" is one of those albums a band produces just the once, and can never hope to recapture that feeling. Like Bon Jovi's "Slippery when wet", sometimes the magic only happens the once.

But when it does...!

TRACKLISTING

1. Rock! Rock! (Til you drop)
2. Photograph
3. Stagefright
4. Too late for love
5. Die hard the hunter
6. Foolin'
7. Rock of ages
8. Comin' under fire
9. Action! Not words
10. Billy's got a gun
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:58 AM   #1363 (permalink)
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:02 AM   #1364 (permalink)
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The worm rather likes this one, though it was the only major hit from Scottish band Danny Wilson. This is “Mary's prayer”.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:19 AM   #1365 (permalink)
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While the sun shines outside and summer does its best to make a good showing this year, it's time to turn to somewhat darker, more sombre matters, and once again pay tribute and respect to those who have gone before us, figures in the music community who have died in June down the years. As ever, I'll be picking the most notable figures and the ones I know, so if any are left out it's not meant as any sort of a slur, but I'm unable to feature every single artiste, producer, writer, actor or anyone else associated with the music industry who died, as sadly and expectedly the list is very long, and growing every year.

As always, my thanks to BITTER SUITE BAND: official website!, who have already catalogued the deaths for each month. Without their invaluable resource, I would have a much more difficult job every month.

Sonny Boy Williamson (1914-1948)
Often shown with the suffix “I”, to indicate he was the first to bear the name, he grew up to become one of the most talented and influential blues harmonica players in the world, and was the one to bring the instrument to the fore in blues music. His name was later usurped by Alex Miller, who wanted to cash in on the blues player's fame and name, and so there ended up being two Sonny Boy Williamsons, though not for long, as Miller only took the name in 1941, meaning he would only have to share it with the original for another seven years. The original Sonny Boy Williamson died as a result of a mugging in Chicago, June 1 1948.


Bo Diddley (1928-2008)
Hard to believe that one of the true legends in blues and rock and roll only passed away a few years ago. Ellas Otha Bates, better known as Bo Diddley, set the standard for all future guitar players and is still quoted as a major influence by some of the biggest stars in rock music today. He died of heart failure, June 2, four years ago.


Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
Classical composer best known for his famous opera “Carmen”, he was an accomplished pianist but chose not to pursue that path, instead composing music for operas which were ignored by the Parisian elite, the works of established artistes being hard to compete with. Even his most loved and recognised composition saw no success until after his rather premature death at the age of 37, and he died thinking “Carmen”, like all his other works, was a failure. He succumbed to two heart attacks, June 3 1875.


Johann Strauss II (1825-1899)
Perhaps the most famous of the Strauss musical dynasty, Johann was son to Johann Strauss I and uncle to Johann Strauss III. He is best known for the legendary waltz “The blue Danube” and for the opera “Die fledermaus” (the bat; literally, the flying mouse). He died from pneumonia in Vienna, June 3, just before the turn of the century.


Andrew Gold (1951-2011)
Although he scored two big hit singles in his own right, Andrew Gold was mostly a player, arranger, singer and writer for other famous musicians such as Linda Ronstadt and Cher. He also played or wrote for three of the Beatles, Don Henley, Brian Wilson and Trisha Yearwood. His two claims to fame were the hits “Never let her slip away” and “Lonely boy”. Andrew died of a heart attack, June 3 of last year.


Ronnie Lane (1946-1997)
Co-founder of The Small Faces and later Faces, with Steve Marriot, Ronnie worked with the likes of Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1977 but continued to work for the next twenty years, eventually succumbing to pneumonia, presumably due to the MS, June 4 1997.


Conway Twitty (1933-1993)
One of the most famous and successful US country music stars, he held the record for the most country number one singles until 2006. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Delta Music Hall of Fame. He died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, June 5 1993.


Mel Torme (1925-1999)
One of the outstanding stars and regarded singers in jazz, Torme utilised the “scat” style of singing lyrics that basically often use no words, like “boo-bop-a-doo-dah” and so on, and popularised the art form. He also acted in many films and television shows, had his own TV show and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award four months before he died from a second stroke, June 5 1999.


Dee Dee Ramone (1951-2002)
Born Douglas Colvin, Dee Dee was the founder and main songwriter, as well as bass player for the Ramones, who are widely accepted as the godfathers of punk rock. He quit the band in 1989, but continued to write songs for the Ramones until their breakup in 1996. He died of a heroin overdose, June 5 2002.


Billy Preston (1946-2006)
Soul singer and keyboard player who collaborated with a host of stars, including the Beatles, Ray Charles, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Johnny Cash to name but a few. He died of kidney failure following a transplant, June 5 2006.


Marvin Isley (1953-2010)
Bass player and youngest member of the famous Isley Brothers, who penned such soul/r&b classics as “This old heart of mine”, “That's the way love is” and “Shout”. Marvin died from complications with diabetes, June 6 2010.


Ray Charles (1930-2004)
One of the most famous and enduring jazz pianists of all time, Ray, like Stevie Wonder, created an incredibly successful music career despite being blind. Although he was not born that way, glaucoma took his eyesight by age seven, and yet he went on to become one of the most respected, innovative and loved music entertainers of his era, earning plaudits from the likes of BB King, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson. Johnny Mathis, Bonnie Raitt and Elton John, all of whom he played with in his life, and many more besides. His version of Hoagy Carmichael's “Georgia on my mind” was adopted as the state's official theme, and he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as being one of the first to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and after his death Billy Joel declared he believed Charles was more influential and important in music than even Elvis. Ray died of liver failure and hepatitis, June 10 2004.


Graeme Kelling (1957-2004)
Guitarist with pop/rock band Deacon Blue, Graeme played on their big hit albums, including “Raintown” and “When the world knows your name”, and can be heard on their most well-known hits, “Dignity”, “When will you (Make my telephone ring?”), “Real gone kid” and “Wages day”. He died of pancreatic cancer, weirdly enough the very same day as the mighty Ray Charles, June 10 2004.


Benny Goodman (1909-1986)
One of the most instantly recognisable names in Big Band and Swing, even to those of us who have no interest in the genre, Goodman was called “The King of Swing” and led the way for the dominance and popularity of Big Band and Swing music in the thirties and forties. He played with other legends including Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, and bucked the American trend for racial segregation by hiring a black musician to play in his band. He died of heart failure, June 13 1986.


Henry Mancini (1924-1994)
One of the most beloved composers of film soundtracks, Mancini will forever be remembered for his theme to the “Pink Panther” movies (and the cartoon series!) as well as the “Peter Gunn theme”. He composed music for over forty movies, and won twenty Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, after his death. He also composed “Baby elephant walk”, which is used in some baseball games. Mancini died of pancreatic cancer, June 14 1994.


Rory Gallagher (1948-1995)
Without question one of the most influential guitarists of his era, Rory was known for his honest and simple blues style, utilising just guitar, bass and drums in his band, though occasionally adding piano and sometimes playing harmonica himself. He was an influence on a huge number of today's guitar players, and released over a dozen solo albums during his career from the early seventies up to his death in the mid-nineties. He also recorded a number of albums with his first band, Taste, and a clutch of highly-regarded live albums. Rory had a liver transplant operation in 1995, but later that year suffered complications which led to a chest infection and his untimely death on June 13 1995.



Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
One of the true voices that only come once in a lifetime, Ella Fitzgerald was feted by her peers, loved by her fans and adored by her critics. She was a huge figure in the world of swing and jazz, and played with all the greats in the genre, winning thirteen Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Award and an American Music Award, and earning honourary doctorates, even having an award named after her. Suffering from diabetes and circulatory problems, Ella had to have both her legs amputated below the knee in 1993, and died three years later of complications from her diabetes, June 15 1996.


Screaming Lord Sutch (1940-1999)
Perhaps the first example of style triumphing over substance, David Sutch, who took the epitheth “Screaming Lord” was a rock singer who couldn't really sing, but whose horror-themed stageshow garnered fans and appealed to the imagination of rockers and heavy metal fans, and he was doing this long before Alice Cooper would popularise it. He is best known though for his political activities, in particular his leadership of the Monster Raving Loony Party, which though it never threatened to gain any appreciable support, nevertheless garnered hundreds of votes in most by-elections. Sutch suffered from manic depression, and hanged himself on June 16 1999.


Clarence Clemmons (1942-2011)
One of the most important members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Clarence's iconic saxaphone breaks can be heard on such hits as “Born to run”, “Cadillac ranch” and of course “Jungleland”. Bruce knew him as “The Big Man”, and his passing hit the Boss very hard, as Clemmons had been with him from the very start. Clarence died of complications following a stroke, June 18 of last year.


Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
Russian composer best known for his “Scheherezade” suite and his use of legend and lore in his compositions, he worked alongside other greats like Mussorgsky and Borodin to create a specifically Russian style of classical music that didn't rely on previous, mostly European-influenced artistes and music. He also wrote fifteen operas, many of which were only completed when the death of Tchaikovsky encouraged him out of his self-imposed retirement in 1893. He died from accelerated neurasthenia and accelerated angina, June 21 (Midsummer's Day) 1908.


John Lee Hooker (1917-2001)
A huge figure in blues music, Hooker's influence is still cited, and his music still played today. He was one of the main figures in the Memphis blues scene, and developed his own style of “talking blues”, which was always identified with him. In later life he played with the greats such as Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Pete Townsend and Carlos Santana. He passed away peacefully in his sleep, June 21 2001.


Judy Garland (1922-1969)
Best known of course for her role as Dorothy in the perennial Christmas favourite film “The wizard of Oz”, and its theme, “Somewhere over the rainbow”, Judy Garland was a vaudeville performer before becoming a teenage actress, and went on to star or co-star in dozens of films, later returning to the stage in 1952 for a triumphant rebirth. But financial and substance abuse problems dogged her life, and she accidentally overdosed on June 22 1969.


Fred Astaire (1899-1987)
The man about whom it is anecdotally reported it was said: “Can't sing, can't act, can dance a little” would go on to become the greatest film star in dance and musicals the world has ever seen, leading Gene Kelly to declare “the future of dance on film began with Fred Astaire”. He became famous for his dance routines, usually with partner Ginger Rogers, and acted and danced (and sang) in more than thirty musical movies, as well as, later, other more “serious” films, such as “The towering inferno” and “The man in the Santa Claus suit”, even guesting in an episode of the original TV series “Battlestar Galactica”! Astaire died of pneumonia, June 22 1987.


Jackie Gleason (1917-1987)
Famous for his role in the TV series “The Honeymooners” and its later effect on just about every situation comedy show since, Gleason also sponsored a series of smooth romantic music, which resulted in three albums that all went to number one, even though he had no musical input to them. He also starred in movies, one of the most iconic of which was the “Smokey and the bandit” trilogy, with Burt Reynolds. He died of cancer, June 24 1987.


John Entwhistle (1944-2002)
Bassist with the Who, John pioneered the use of the bass guitar as an instrument in its own right, not just a backup, and his solo on “My generation” is said to be the first instance of a bass solo on a rock record. His playing influenced a whole new generation of bassists, including Lemmy from Motorhead and Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath. John died June 27 2002 following a heart attack brought on as a result of his cocaine addiction.


Rosemary Clooney (1928-2002)
Pop and jazz singer as well as actress, Clooney starred in many films, including the one which gave birth to one of the most famous songs of all time, Bing Crosby's “White Christmas”. She was aunt to George Clooney, who was a pallbearer at her funeral. She died June 29 2002 after a battle with lung cancer.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:41 PM   #1366 (permalink)
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:46 PM   #1367 (permalink)
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Here's one the worm hasn't heard for years!
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:25 PM   #1368 (permalink)
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If ever anyone jumped on the popularity of David Bowie and used it to make himself a hit single, it's this one.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:37 PM   #1369 (permalink)
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:24 PM   #1370 (permalink)
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Brood --- My Friend the Chocolate Cake --- 1994 (Liberation Music)


I've said it before and, guess what? I'll say it again: sometimes the only thing to attract me to a new artiste is the name, either of the band or the album, or sometimes both. This is one I just came across yesterday, and had to check out. With a name like “My Friend the Chocolate Cake” it just had to be worth delving into! Turns out it's not such an obscure album after all, winning the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Award for Best Contemporary Album, 1995. So it's well known and appreciated, at least Down Under.

But who, or what, is or are My Friend the Chocolate Cake? Well, it seems they're a duo, based out of Melbourne, consisting of David Bridie and Helen Mountfort. Both were part of another Australian combo called Not Drowning, Waving, but started this as a side-project, continuing on after the original band had split. Their music is characterised by mostly acoustic pop with folk tinges, as well as elements of chamber music and other influences like Celtic traditional sounds. Bridie is the main songwriter, takes the lead vocal and also plays the piano, while Mountfort is a cellist, and leads the in situ string ensemble that always plays on their albums. To date, the band have released seven studio albums, their last being 2011's “Fiasco”. This is their second album, and was re-released, along with most of their catalogue, in 2005.

It starts, quite beautifully, on slow cello and strings with soft choral vocals as “Dance (You stupid monster to my soft song)”, already a candidate for strange track title of the album, flows out of the speakers and into your ears. Some lovely piano joins in and it's clear this is going to be an instrumental, as it proves to be. And a short track to open, just over two and a half minutes. Ambient folk music? You'd not be too far wrong, to be honest. In contrast, “I've got a plan” recalls the best of Deacon Blue, with a laidback poppy number, a soft drumbeat carrying the piano and a little further in, viola, cello and violins, David Bridie's voice calming and soothing but with a slightly ragged edge that gives you the idea he can let loose when he wants to. A lot of emotion in this, and then we're into “Throwing it away”, with a little more punch but still quite poppy.

It's mostly the piano of Bridie, as well as his almost hypnotic voice that pulls at your attention throughout this album, backed up by Helen Mountfort and her sometimes mournful, sometimes energetic cello, and the rest of the string section. Some great upbeat fiddle or violin on this track, and it's the most uptempo on the album so far. “Greenkeeping” brings in some gentle mandolin to join Mountfort's cello, very pastoral, and another instrumental, with some very celtic overtones, then Bridie is back, and very welcome at that, for “The old years”, where Mountfort's soulful cello melds perfectly with his tired, wounded voice on a lovely little bitter ballad.

The only cover on the album, Magazine's “Song from under the floorboards” is a lot more uptempo, with almost Bowie-style vocals from David and a jumping little beat, the song more piano than cello-driven, though Helen certainly plays her part. There's a slight sense of Men at Work about the song too, then it's back to very celtic beats for the very boppy “Jimmy Stynes”, great reels and jigs with some fine mandolin and ukulele (yeah, that's what I said!) taking us into the longest track on the album, at just over five minutes, “Slow way to go down”. This slows everything down to a crawl, and is the closest to a dark song on the album. Trudging along at the sort of pace that usually accompanies funeral marches, it's almost Nick Cave-like in its use of dark cello and slow, measured drumming, Bridie's vocal sharp and thick, with some heavy, almost discordant piano lending to the feeling of unease in this track. It's the more unsettling as it's so out of step with the rest of the album, which mostly seems to be going for the cheery, breezy, happy angle, and for something like this to slap you upside the head out of left field: well, it's a shock.

It's followed by what can only be called a virtuoso performance by Helen Mountfort on the cello, and with some ghostly vocals from the lady too, though more in a backing style than lead, even though there are in fact no lead vocals. She's really using her voice here as another instrument, you feel, and what she sings is not anywhere near as important as how she sings. Halfway through the acoustic guitar of Andrew Richardson joins in, and “Bottom and the Rustics”, essentially an instrumental, takes on a more celtic and then even heavier edge as the song moves towards its end. “Rosetta” has a much more lively violin opening it, and Bridie is back to sing a simple love song that licks along nicely, but ultimately comes across as something of a throwaway; MFTCC are much better than this.

A point they quickly prove, if any doubted it, with the heartbreakingly beautiful piano ballad “The gossip”, which in places reminds me of the best of Roger Waters. Helen's sumptuous cello again works its magic, as do the violins and violas in the ensemble, all creating a backdrop for Bridie's soft but gently angry vocal, wistful and bitter. I'd have to say this is the standout, and considering how excellent this album is, that's praise indeed, and not a decision taken lightly. The title track is another instrumental love affair between Helen and David, gentle piano meshing almost seamlessly with flowing cello, no percussion to speak of, no other instruments, and no words needed.

The musical marriage is carried through into the next track, the oddly-titled “Yandoit”, where some tin whistle from Andrew Carswell adds a very celtic feel to the music before it suddenly kicks up a gear with some organic vocals from Bridie, more sounds than words, though I think I hear the word “Why” in there; again, what's sung is not important. It's the sounds that you listen to, not the lyric, if indeed there is one. This takes us into the almost bluegrass-tinged “The pramsitters”, which ups the tempo a lot and gives your feet something to tap to, until Bridie's slow gentle piano takes it all right back for “Aberystwyth”, some more lovely lonely tin whistle from Carswell creating the scenery against which Bridie sings his song of longing for home in the Welsh highlands.

And ukulele, of all things, carries “The red wallpaper”, a short instrumental and showcase for Greg Pattern, somewhat in the vein of Waits' weirder and more organic tunes, before heavy cello and violin introduce “John Cain Avenue”, with Bridie's strong piano adding its muscle, a lovely little semi-ballad to take us to the closer, simply entitled “Low”, and a showpiece for Bridie on the piano, with Michael Barker adding some effective but not overly intrusive percussion, and the vocal from David so low as to be almost inaudible most of the time. Low-key ending indeed.

I would compare the style of this band somewhat, though certainly not entirely, to Prefab Sprout at their less energetic and, as already mentioned, Deacon Blue, mostly in their quieter moments. But it would be unfair to lump My Friend the Chocolate Cake in with those, or any other bands, and just write them off as another pop band, for they are certainly not. With strong elements of classical, ambient, folk and celtic influences, this band is something very unique and special, and I'm very impressed. I've always had a liking for chocolate cake, but now I have even more reason to.

TRACKLISTING

1. Dance (You stupid monster to my soft song)
2. I've got a plan
3. Throwing it away
4. Greenkeeping
5. The old years
6. Song from under the floorboards
7. Jimmy Stynes
8. Slow way to go down
9. Bottom and the Rustics
10. Rosetta
11. The gossip
12. Brood
13. Yandoit
14. The pramsitters
15. Aberystwyth
16. The red wallpaper
17. John Cain Avenue
18. Low
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