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Old 08-23-2011, 04:21 PM   #171 (permalink)
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No. 3 “Heartattack and Vine” by Tom Waits



On the face of it, this album cover doesn't look that special, but when you take a closer look the genius behind it becomes evident. Made to look like the front page of a newspaper, it's a clever idea in itself. The title is Waits' name, done in that font they used for newspaper banner headers some years ago, then there's a picture of Waits looking suitably drunk and out of it, with a caption below reading “Shortly before dawn Sunday this South Central Los Angeles man was seen leaving the corner of Western and 110th Street in a burnt sienna Chrysler Imperial and heading in the direction of the San Bernardino Mts.” (There is no punctuation: I've reproduced it exactly as it's printed on the sleeve).

Examine the cover in a bit more detail. The main headline is the name of the album, “Heartattack and Vine”. In fact, each of the smaller headlines corresponds to a track on the album, so you can see “Jersey girl”, “Mr. Siegal”, “Savin' all my love for you”, “Downtown” and “On the nickle”, while half-seen (and completed, mostly, on the reverse) can be seen “Stay with you baby till the money runs out” and “Ruby's arms”. The former of those is the only one that doesn't exactly conform to a song title: the track is actually called “Till the money runs out”, though the rest of it comes up in the lyric. Also, “On the nickle” is misspelt, as the song is actually spelt “On the nickel”. The only track actually not represented on the cover is the instrumental “In shades”.

But not only that: the actual articles under each headline are the lyrics --- in some cases, all, in others parts --- of the songs they refer to. So under, for instance, the headline “Jersey girl”, you can read ”Got no time for the corner boys/ Down in the street makin' all that noise”, and the same with each headline. And each headline is followed by a city the story is supposed to take place in, but more than that, it's a city that either the song is set in, or is about. Like “Mr Siegal” (written about the legendary gangster Buggsy Siegal, who essentially created the gambling mecca of Las Vegas), which is shown as taking place in, you guessed it, Las Vegas! “Jersey girl” of course is in New York, while “Downtown” is credited to Little Tokyo. And so on.

Then there's the names of the contributors. While they generally have nothing to do with the songs, some of them are puns, like under “Savin' all my love for you” the author is Preston Glass, while “Heartattack and Vine” is credited to Tragic O'Hara, and just over the CD spine you can see that “Stay with you till the money runs out” has been written by Tulane Bowler. Very clever. There are other names there that don't mean too much to me, but they could be American in-jokes or something, like Charles Slater, or Clancy Church, though I'm unsure what he's trying to say with the correspondent for “Downtown” being Ah Fong? I reckon Belmont Rivera, who is credited for “Mr. Siegal”, is a hotel.

The album cover is stained with marks that make it look like this is an old newspaper, or one that has seen some use at any rate. If you turn the CD upside down, up in the top right-hand corner (which, with the disc reversed, becomes the bottom left-hand corner) someone has scribbled a name --- David “Der” Fuehrer --- and a (probably fictitous) New York phone number on the edge, as people sometimes do if there's nothing else to hand to write on. In addition, the date of the paper is July 4 --- Independence Day, of course.

This is an album cover I used to look at in the local record shop on the way home from school or work and think “Wow, that guy looks wasted! Bet the music is crap!” Little did I know that a scant ten years or so later this album would be in my collection, and I would be an avid fan of Tom Waits. On the inlay of the CD it credits the cover design to Ron Coro and Norm Ung --- odd names, and they could very well be either pseudonyms or some sort of in-joke, but whoever came up with and executed the concept, top marks on a job well done!
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:32 AM   #172 (permalink)
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NOW that's what I call music!
(Volume II)

Time to spread ten more of my favourite videos across my journal. No order, no linkage, no reason. I just like 'em, is all!

Thought this should have been a huge hit. It wasn't. Bought the album on the strength of the previous single and this, and was severely disappointed with it. This is a great track though, Breathe, from the album “All that jazz”, with “Don't tell me lies.”


Classic from Asia, from their self-titled debut,a huge hit. This is “Heat of the moment”.


Love this one from Dire Straits, just the whole mood of it. Taken from the album “Love over gold”, it's Mark Knopfler at his best, on “Private investigations”.


Never heard anything more from them, but this was a great song from Midnight Oil, with “Beds are burning”.


And there was just something about this track that spoke to me. Again, never heard of them before or since, but Spear of Destiny hit it on the head with “Never take me alive”.


Damn You Tube ads! Anyway, this is my old mate Steve Earle with an excellent song which really speaks to me, being Irish. From the top-notch album “Transcendental blues”, this is “The Galway girl”, featuring Sharon Shannon on accordion. Get up there!


Pure southern rock from those Georgia Satellites! Yeehah! Keep them hands to yourself!


Classic ballad from INXS, the late Michael Hutchence in one of his finest performances, on “Never tear us apart”.


One of the very first songs I ever heard from Nick Cave, from the album “The good son”, the piano ballad known as “The Ship Song”.


And to wrap this volume up, it's the first band I was ever into, ELO, from the album “On the third day”, which I kind of hated, but this is a great track. A reworking of Edvard Grieg's “In the hall of the Mountain King”, which in a very real way got me interested in classical music.


Okay, putting the records away for now. More when I think of them.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:38 AM   #173 (permalink)
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Diary of a madman --- Ozzy Osbourne --- 1981 (Jet)


Ah, Ozzy! Back in the days when he was just a rock singer and not a reality TV star! This was the only solo Ozzy album I ever bought, not because it was terrible --- it's actually really good --- but somehow I just never felt the urge to follow it up. I liked him in Sabbath, and solo he was okay too, but never one of my favourite performers. Truth to tell, I preferred Sabs under Dio, but then that's another story. This was his second solo album, and the last to feature guitar supremo Randy Rhoads, who was tragically killed the following year.

There are no huge surprises on this album. It's Sabbath, it's Ozzy, it's heavy metal. Opener “Over the mountain” sets the scene well enough, great guitar from Randy Rhoads chugging along at a decent lick, Ozzy's inimitable vocals well suited to the material for the most part. Much better though is “Flying high again”, where Rhoads gets to really express himself and give us a glimpse of the musical talent he was heading towards becoming.

The longest track on the album at just under seven minutes, “You can't kill rock and roll” starts off very similar to Iron Maiden's “Prodigal son” from “Killers”: a nice semi-acoustic guitar intro to a song which becomes something of an anthem as Ozzy sings ”Rock and roll is my religion/ And my law.” Indeed. The guitar throughout this song is something special, some of Randy Rhoads' best work, given that his career was so cruelly cut short.

There's not a lot you can say about Ozzy's singing. You may love or hate his style, but basically he's the same as he was in Black Sabbath, which is no surprise, so if you didn't like him in that band then don't come here expecting anything different. I've always found his singing to be a little on the whiny side, but that's just me, and it didn't stop me buying this album, nor “We sold our soul for rock and roll”, “Sabbath bloody sabbath” or “Paranoid”.

“Believer” is the first of the slower tracks, though not by any means a ballad. This is more in the vein of the likes of “The wizard” or “War pigs” --- what I like to term a “cruncher”, with a slower, more insistent and pounding beat and guitars more thumping and grinding than screeching or squealing. Ozzy's never going to win any accolades for original lyrics: ”I'm a believer/ I ain't no deceiver/... Destiny's planned out/ I don't need no handouts.” Ah, rock and roll!

There's only the one ballad on the album; “Tonight” is driven on a piano line with guitar backing, but to be honest it seems a little tacked on. Ozzy is at his best when freaking out on hard rockin' tracks, and I don't really think his voice is suited for the slower, more tender end of the spectrum. Still, he tries. A great guitar solo fades out the track, but it never really recovers. Then we're back to what Ozzy does best: headshakin' metal, with the enigmatically titled S.A.T.O, which in fact comes across as the best track on the album with its pounding beat, singalong melody and excellent solos with Ozzy back on the top of his game, then it's on to a big finish with the title track.

Introduced on an almost classical guitar passage, it soon kicks into high gear with Iron Maidenesque axework from Randy Rhoads and we get a peek into Ozzy's tortured soul as he reads us a page from his diary. This is a long song, at six minutes plus the second-longest on the album, and it really is a tour-de-force, going through a few changes as the song winds on, the classical theme retained throughout and giving it a very epic and dramatic feel. It's like Ozzy and the band pulled out all the stops for this last track, and it really works, especially the choir at the end. Very gothic.

As an album this is not bad. There are a few low points, and as I said it's never going to win any prizes for innovation or original thinking, but it's not a Black Sabbath album, that's for sure. And sometimes that's all a solo artist can hope for, when he or she spreads their wings and explores new avenues.

TRACKLISTING

1. Over the mountain
2. Flying high again
3. You can't kill rock and roll
4. Believer
5. Little dolls
6. Tonight
7. S.A.T.O
8. Diary of a madman
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:39 AM   #174 (permalink)
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Random Track of the Day
Wednesday, August 24 2011

Oh yeah! A real classic for the Rtotd today! The one and only David Bowie, the Thin White Duke himself and a great, great rocker from the seminal “Ziggy Stardust” album, this is the incomparable “Suffragette City”!

Suffragette City --- David Bowie --- from “The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” on RCA


Mick Ronson at his very best on the guitar, Bowie himself on piano and of course vocals, a rip-roaring party song that includes the infamous line “Wham bam, thank you ma'am!” --- although whether that's where it originated or not I'm not sure. You can't not like this song! Rock on, baby!
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:11 PM   #175 (permalink)
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In the eye of the storm --- Roger Hodgson --- 1984 (A&M)


One half of the creative duo behind Supertramp, Roger Hodgson penned such unforgettable classics as “Dreamer”, “Breakfast in America”, “Take the long way home”, “Give a little bit” … in fact, most if not all of the charting singles from Supertramp's commercial peak (1974-82) came from his pen and brain, and those he wrote he usually sang on too, so that if you heard a Supertramp hit you could be almost certain it was him singing it.

In 1982 Hodgson left the band to pursue a solo career --- the last album he cut with Supertramp, 1982's “Famous last words”, still stands as one of their best albums ever --- and this was his first effort. It's a pretty impressive outing, boasting only seven tracks, four of those over seven minutes and two over eight. It's of course tinged with the Supertramp hallmarks --- he was hardly going to go solo and release a jazz or trip-hop album! --- and should be enjoyed by anyone who listened to Supertramp in their heyday.

There's no messing around as right from the start the opening track is one of those eight-minuters, “Had a dream (sleeping with the enemy)” weighing in at an ear-pleasing 8:27, and it's introduced by low, growling keyboard with the sound of a baby crying (symbolic of a new beginning, one would expect), which then turns into the sounds of children playing a la “School” from “Crime of the century” as the music swells behind, growing to a crescendo against which Roger yells out and thunder booms, and the track is off and running with a bright and breezy piano, a boppy, catchy number which was in fact the first and most successful single from the album.

Hodgson's voice is instantly recognisable as the voice of Supertramp, and it's in fine shape. He plays most of the instruments on the album, with a little help here and there. The lyric reflects his “release” from Supertramp, and his new lease of life: ”I dont' care what the future brings/ Give a damn about anything/ I'd be fine if they'd only/ Leave me alone/ But it's time/ Gotta take a stance/ Cos I won't get a second chance/ And I know now/ I have to make it alone.” A nice little break in the middle for a lovely little introspective guitar solo then we're back hoppin' and boppin' to the end, where it pitch bends down, rather like the very end of the title track off “Crime of the century”.

A great start, and “In jeopardy” keeps the pace going, with a slight decrease in speed, Hodgson's falsetto vocals really suited to this track. Stride piano and warbling keyboards carry this track, with some chord changes that give the song a feeling of vague menace or unease. Roger is equally at home writing this sort of track as he is penning a supreme ballad, as we see in the next track, the shortest on the album at just 4:11, but a lovely, simple love song. “Lovers in the wind” allows Hodgson to stretch himself even more, as here, and on the following track also, in addition to playing guitar, bass, keyboards and of course singing, he takes a turn behind the drumkit. Is there anything this man can't do? He even produces the album!

“Lovers in the wind” is a quiet, almost ethereal song, unavoidably recalling the best Supertramp ballads, the likes of “Lord is it mine” and “Know who you are”. Led on a lovely little piano line, it's a simple song that really demonstrates that old axiom less is more. He could have overpopulated the song with strings, synth, flutes, whatever, or produced it too tightly and squeezed all the heart out of it. He avoids falling into this trap, and what we're left with is a gorgeous but very stripped-down ballad that shows us Hodgson at his restrained best.

“Hooked on a problem”, with its big, bold, almost carnival sound is another catchy track, with saxaphone input from Scott Page, and again Hodgson himself taking drum duties. It's a slower song, though punchy, and like many of the tracks on this album the lyric seems to betray his underlying fear perhaps, or trepidation at taking the big step of going solo. Lines like ”Hey, don't you ever get lonely?/ Hey, don't you wish it was easy/ Facing the world on your own?” and ”I'm hooked on a problem/ It won't let me go/ The way people look at me/ Feels like twenty below” demonstrate, it would seem, his misgivings about stepping out into the big bad world on his own.

There's a clever line in the song which recalls directly his departure from Supertramp, when he sings ”I'm walking a tightrope/ With stars in my eyes/ In danger of falling/ Won't you kiss me goodbye?”. The album sleeve for his last Supertramp outing, “Famous last words”, depicted a circus performer on a tightrope, while behind a large stylised scissors waits to cut the rope. A great album sleeve, which I'll tackle at some point in The secret life of the album cover, but for now it's good to hear it namechecked, as it were.

“Give me love, give me life” is one of three songs, each over seven minutes, that complete the album. This is a boppy rocker, with lots of happy keyboard, bright piano and a faux-live applause part built in. Like many of the songs on this album it's very Supertramp, and yet very specific to Roger Hodgson. “I'm not afraid” is perhaps his most personal expression of a life-affirmation, pushing the problems of the past firmly behind him and walking out onto the world stage alone. It's a slower track, something of a “cruncher” (Copyright @ Trollheart MMXI), and again over seven minutes in length. It goes through some changes, speeding up about halfway through as the track takes off, slowly increasing in speed and intensity till it's at the level of “Had a dream”. Great to hear those Supertramp-style harmonicas, courtesy of Ken Allardyce.

But the best has most certainly been saved for last. Clocking it at a pretty impressive 8:40, “Only because of you” is the longest piece on the album, beating out the opener by about ten seconds. It's an epic in every sense, starting off with a fade from the end of “I'm not afraid” into humming synth and slowly tinkling piano behind programmed wind and storm noises before the main piano line begins. It's actually a full two and a half minutes before any singing is heard, as Roger launches quietly into his masterpiece, without question the standout track on the album, as he sings ”In mighty castles lonely kings/ Hear the ragged children sing.” One minute later the singing ends and the track becomes an almost-instrumental, with powerful guitar and synth lines as the piano keeps its melody going, and the single voice of Clair Diament sings a la-la-la vocal over the music, which swells and gets more powerful and dramatic as the track winds on, pulling you in like the tide itself.

Hodgson excels himself on guitar here, making it sing and weep and cry and moan like I haven't heard since the last tortured chords of “Don't leave me now” from “Famous last words”. The emotion in this piece really is hard to resist, and you may feel a small tear tricking down your cheek as you listen (wimp! Not to worry, I always do...) The last vocal comes in on the seven-minute mark, and lasts less than a minute as the song fades down to its gentle and satsifying conclusion, the piano still tinking right to the very end.

If you like Supertramp --- or, more to the point, if you liked Supertramp: they're a different band entirely now without Hodgson --- you'll love this album. If you don't know any Supertramp songs you can still get a lot out of this album. This is one of those rather rare moments when an artiste of consummate talent puts his heart, soul and mind out there on disc. On the reverse of the album cover is a picture of Roger standing, as part of the lyric from “Had a dream” goes, ”Naked in the eye of the storm”. He couldn't be more vulnerable, and it's a brave thing to do, expose your innermost feelings, thoughts and emotions to others. But it pays off handsomely in an album that is more than a journey, more than an experience, and definitely more than forty-seven minutes eleven seconds of music.

Head into the eye of the storm and seek out Roger Hodgson. It's not calm in there, but it's one hell of an adventure!

TRACKLISTING

1. Had a dream (sleeping with the enemy)
2. In jeopardy
3. Lovers in the wind
4. Hooked on a problem
5. Give me love, give me life
6. I'm not afraid
7. Only because of you

Suggested further listening: “Hai hai”, “Open the door”
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:12 PM   #176 (permalink)
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Random Track of the Day
Thursday, August 25 2011

Now this is weird! Today's Random Track of the Day comes from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, just as I prepare to, quite literally next, review one of their albums for publication later. And it's this one! Taken from the double album “Night castle”, this is TSO with “Moonlight and madness”.

Moonlight and madness --- Trans-Siberian Orchestra --- from “Night castle” on Lava


This is in fact the first I've heard from this band, though I have been meaning to listen to and review one of their albums for the journal, and as I say in the introduction above, that is exactly what I'm doing once I've finished typing this. A great mix of classical and hard rock, this is an instrumental that really stands out, with great guitar and powerful piano, and a very classical intro. Looking forward to publishing my review of this album soon: watch for it. This will have to do to be going on with for now.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:39 AM   #177 (permalink)
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Ghost --- Matt Stevens --- 2010 (Label unknown: there may not be one)


A whole album of instrumental rock, led by guitar, and often acoustic guitar? Weird? Well maybe, but the talent on display here is enough to make you forget the fact that there are no vocals on this album. Released under the “pay-what-you-feel-is-fair” model championed by Radiohead a few years ago, and expanded on by Marillion, “Ghost” is another example of an artiste accepting the new restrictions of their art in terms of commerciality and finance, and working with rather than against that model.

More anxious that his music should be heard and enjoyed than how many bucks he can make, Matt Stevens has made the album (and his others) freely available from his website, where if you want to, and are particularly stingy, you can pay nothing for it. But common decency would lead you to believe that if the artist is meeting the fans halfway here, the least they should do is dig in their pockets and shell out a few pounds for the privilege of hearing this music.

Opener “Into the sea” is a really nice piece, relaxing and atmospheric, while “Big sky” is faster, rockier and puts me in mind of the best of that old campaigner, Mike Oldfield. That was an obvious association, given that Stevens is also a multi-instrumentalist, but the comparison does I believe hold true, and it's meant as praise rather than criticism. “Eleven” introduces what sounds like a xylophone into the mix with some lovely slide guitar and a bubbling rhythm, while “Draw” features a much harder approach, with the guitar much more up in the mix and essentially in your face, a strong bassline accompanying the melody., which then goes all sort of seventies prog-rock/psychedelic, the theme getting a little confused I feel, and then just ending suddenly.

From the little I have been able to find out about this guy, it would appear that this album is totally played on guitars, with the odd drum piece thrown in. So when what sounds like a piano gets going, apparently it's not: it's a guitar. Very clever, but does this limit him a little? Hard to say, with music of this quality. You could also believe you were listening to Jose Feliciano or John Williams when they decide to rock out, so technically proficient and excellent is the guitar playing on this album. It's quite beyond anything I've heard, and I include guitar greats like Gallagher, Hendix, Page and Vaughan in that. This guy is in a class of his own!

Inevitably, like just about any instrumental album you can name, the lack of actual songs --- as in, songs with words, a singing voice --- gets a little wearing, but against that the music is certainly powerful and interesting enough to hold the attention and unlike many such albums, my eyelids never threatened to droop, not once. “Lake man” is an atmospheric piece, carried on a really nice melody and a rhythm you sort of find yourself tapping your foot to, in probably the same way Stevens might be lightly slapping the side of his guitar as he plays. It's just that sort of beat. It's also the longest song, at just over six minutes, and yet it doesn't seem that long. A lot of what sounds like (but may not be) Spanish guitar on this really adds to the overall feel, and the drum machines --- for surely such they must be: no-one could make that electronic beat sound on a guitar, could they? --- help to move the track along and break up the pace slightly.

“Glide” has a sort of Simon and Garfunkel feel to it, and that xylophone --- or maybe a triangle? --- is back again, adding much-needed variety of a sort. Sorry Matt, but this tune also makes me think of “Trumpton” or “Camberwick Green”: just has that sort of sound that reminds me of my youth. Great little piece. It's followed by the enigmatically titled “8.19” --- no, it's not eight minutes and nineteen seconds long, that was my first thought too --- which gets the tempo moving again, with sounds like a steam engine in the background, and some real virtuoso playing and some lovely multi-layered guitars.

A great bassline leads the title track, certainly giving the impression of something haunting, with a harmonica-like sound also permeating the piece, adding to the ghostly feel and affording the track a somewhat country-tinged air. The album closer, “Moondial”, is simple for about half the track then turns into a little bit of a confusing mess, which is a pity. Stevens tries to fit too many ideas into the last two minutes or so of the track, resulting in something of a logjam, and the overall impression is of an idea that got too complicated and tripped itself up.

This minor quibble aside, “Ghost” is an album that really is quite unique, especially in these days of bands and artistes who try to have a hit single, and conform to market trends. Matt Stevens does neither, and also bucks the record company model with regard to sale of his music, and yet it all seems to work very well. This album is well worth listening to. Quite astutely, Matt has not penned any songs over six minutes, so none of them drag, or become boring, and he seems to have struck just the right balance between art and entertainment. A worthy effort, and something all guitar aficionados should check out.

Hey, if you just like good music, well played and written, this is for you too.

TRACKLISTING

1. Into the sea
2. Big sky
3. Eleven
4. Draw
5. Burnt out car
6. Lake man
7. Glide
8. 8.19
9. Ghost
10. Moondial
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:00 AM   #178 (permalink)
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Sometimes two artistes get together that you could never have imagined collaborating, and it just seems like such a bad idea! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In this section, I'm going to tackle a team-up and talk about whether or not I feel it worked, why the collaboration happened and how it affected one or both of the two artiste's future careers and record sales.

Jimmy Page and Puff Daddy --- Come with me


This one had to be first! When I heard about it I was gobsmacked. Jimmy Page, lead guitarist with legendary seventies classic rock gods Led Zeppelin, teaming up with Puff Daddy/P. Diddy, a rapper known for songs with titles like “Real niggas”, “Gangster ****” and “Bad boy for life”, and who was both a record producer and a fashion designer. It just seemed unlikely.

On the one hand you were going to have Puff Daddy's legion of rap fans moaning that he was allying himself with a “honky” (maybe; I don't claim this was said but I'm sure it was considered and discussed, if not in public) old guy from a has-been band who were living on past glories, and on Page's side, the Zep fans could not have been happy to have had one of their classic songs mashed up and resampled for this rapper.

The song in question was “Kashmir”, from Zep's “Physical grafitti” album, and featured Puff Daddy singing (or rapping, I guess) the lyric across Jimmy's guitar rendition of the song. It also featured in the film “Godzilla”, earning it more interest and sales.

So why does it work? Hard to say. Maybe because Puff Daddy “sung” along the melody of “Kashmir”, understanding the original song, or maybe it was Page's excellent as ever guitar work. It's certainly a dramatic song, moreso even than the original. Maybe it needed an update. Maybe it was the charisma of the two collaborators. Perhaps it was the addition of the orchestra, that added that extra element to the song that it was missing.

The truth is, no-one ever knows why these team-ups work (or don't): it's probably due to a range of factors, but for an unlikely combination of talents and backgrounds, this song really worked, and in fact it's one of the few rap-flavoured records I listen to.

As for how it affected their careers? Well, I don't know about you, but I have yet to bump into either Jimmy Page or Puff Daddy down my local job centre!
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:02 AM   #179 (permalink)
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Random Track of the Day
Friday, August 26 2011

Ah, the last Friday in August! Bank holiday weekend for those of you in the UK (though not for me, but since I don't work anyway, what the hey?) and next week all those noisy kids will be back where they belong, in school, leaving the streets safe for decent folk to walk! And my random-o-meter is trying to tell me something, as this is the second time it's picked out Dan Fogelberg from my collection, and again it's the album “Exiles” that's in question. Must feature something from him soon.

The way it must be --- Dan Fogelberg --- from “Exiles” on Full Moon


This is more the Dan Fogelberg I know and love! A nice mid-paced ballad, with a certain country flavour, a bittersweet lyric and some really nice vibraphone and synth guitar. Dan was best known for his ballads, and this is one of the good ones, called “The way it must be”. A great little album too (makes note for future review).
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:30 PM   #180 (permalink)
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Those of you who read my journal regularly (yes, both of you!) will know that I have a reasonably varied taste in music, though there is a lot I do not like. There are genres in which I have no interest, and therefore no experience or expertise with. However, from time to time songs jump out at me from odd angles, attacking me and before I can even say “No, I don't like that kind of music!” they're IN MY HEAD AND THEY WON'T GET OUT!!

Which is another way of saying that there are songs I listen to or enjoy which are outside the normal sphere of the music I usually prefer, but that doesn't make them bad songs, nor does it mean I am suddenly into that particular genre, album or artiste. Here I want to highlight a few “weird” songs I tend to listen to,just to break things up and show that even I can occasionaly let down what little hair I still have left, and take a short trip outside the box. Most if not all of these are albums/tracks I would never feature in any of my usual sections, so this is a chance for me to show off my quirky side.

Hey, I can be as spontaneous as the next guy, but you know, it has its time and place.


First up is this classic so-bad-it's-good song from Jilted John, from 1978. Now my regular readers will know that punk rock is not an alley I enter normally, unless I have a good Genesis or Pendragon on the ipod, but this song is special! With lyrics like “I was so upset that I cried/ All the way to the chip shop!” and “John you know I love you/ But there's this guy I fancy/ I don't want to two-time you/ So it's the end for you and me!” you can't help but love it.


And at the total opposite end of the scale, Jesus and Andrew Lloyd-Webber! I'm not normally that into rock operas, but I must admit I love “Jesus Christ Superstar”, though it has to be the TV version from 1973, with Ted Neeley as Jesus. The very best track on it in my opinion is “Gethsemane (I only want to say)” where Jesus questions the need for him to die, and challenges his Father in Heaven. Whether you believe or not, it's a powerful, emotional song with fantastic lyrics and brilliant instrumentation, but the star of the song is no doubt Neeley as the frightened and confused Jesus. Just perfect.


And after that emotion-sapping performance, let's lighten the mood again with the Firm from 1987. I've always been a huge Star Trek fan (hey, no sh*t?), so maybe I should have been offended by the irreverent “Star Trekkin'”, but I loved it. Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, right? Plus the claymation video is so cool!


Disco and dance is again not an area I venture into (you do NOT want to see me on the dance floor, believe me!) but this song captured my imagination back when I was a kid (well, okay, fifteen!) and I loved it. Ceronne with “Supernature”.


And finally, the enigmatic Laurie Anderson. I remember hearing this when I was staying over in my mate's apartment in London in the early eighties, and dog tired, wondering what the hell all that racket was? But when I woke up and listened to it properly, I really liked it. As it happened, “O Superman” went to number one, I believe, so I wasn't the only one who liked that weird sh*t!


Well, that's it for the first round! Man, you'd hate to be trapped in my brain, wouldn't you?
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Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
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