The Playlist of Life --- Trollheart's resurrected Journal - Music Banter Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The MB Reader > Members Journal
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-10-2013, 12:08 PM   #1871 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,970
Default


Famed as the writers of hits for everyone from Suzi Quatro to Huey Lewis and the News, Nicki Chinn and Mike Chapman had a real eye for not only a catchy tune but also a clever lyric. Songs like "Can the can", "Ballroom blitz", "Tiger feet" and "Heart and soul" will be familiar to people of my age, and it's probably fair to say that the partnership were the Lamont/Dozier of their age, on a par with the likes of Goffin/King and perhaps even Lennon/McCartney in terms of popularity. Unlike the last pairing though Chinn and Chapman did not perform, being songwriters exclusively, and parlayed that talent successfully into a hit-making machine that yielded many number ones for the artists who were favoured by their contributions.

The song I want to look at here was made popular, famous, even infamous by seventies soft-rock band Smokie, and later parodied in night clubs across Europe. It concerns a warning on the pitfalls of waiting too long to declare your love, and the realisation that not everyone will wait forever. There's also a sly dig telling us that someone else could be waiting for the chance, and if we don't recognise that then we could be missing out.

Living next door to Alice (Smokie) 1976, from no album (amazingly) until the remastered 2007 version of "Midnight cafe"
Music and Lyrics by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman

For those of you who somehow have never heard the song (you on solid food yet?) it concerns a guy who has been living beside his childhood sweetheart Alice, but though they hung out together as kids they seem to have drifted apart without his ever getting to tell her how he feels about her. He laments "Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance/ To tell her how I feel", but knows that chance is gone now as he is told by Sally, another friend, that Alice is leaving. He goes to his window and is aghast to see a big limo pulling up into her driveway, the implication being clearly that Alice has fallen for or married some rich guy and is leaving. The guy in the song starts thinking about his childhood and wonders why he never told Alice how he felt. He's annoyed she's leaving --- "I don't know why she's leaving /Or where she's gonna go/ Guess she has her reasons/ But I just don't wanna know."

He's angry with Alice for leaving, for not revealing that she had this other man in her life, and of course with himself for not having the guts to go up to her and tell her he loves her. As he watches despondently Sally points out that she has always wanted him --- "Alice is gone/ But I'm still here/ You know I've been waiting/ For twenty-four years" --- but whether he hears her, takes any notice or is interested is not clear, as the last words of the song are a despondent "I'll never get used to not/ Living next door to Alice."

I think the song sums up very well the old adage "Faint heart ne'er won fair maid" as well as "He who hesitates is lost", and tells us that basically if we fancy someone we have got to tell them, because expecting someone to wait forever is futile and pointless. People can't read each other's minds (if they could I'd be in BIG trouble!) and if you have feelings for a man, or woman, or a small blue furry thing from Alcatran XI, you need to tell them, because if you leave it too long they may just very well decide to move on with their lives.

Sally called when she got the word,
And she said: "I suppose you've heard about Alice".
Well I rushed to the window and I looked outside,
And I could hardly believe my eyes -
As a big limousine rolled up into Alice's drive...

Oh, I don't know why she's leaving,
Or where she's gonna go,
I guess she's got her reasons,
But I just don't want to know,
'Cos for twenty-four years I've been living next door to Alice.
Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
To tell her how I feel, and maybe get a second glance,
Now I've got to get used to not living next door to Alice...

We grew up together, two kids in the park,
We carved our initials, deep in the bark,
Me and Alice.
Now she walks through the door with her head held high,
Just for a moment I caught her eye,
As a big limousine pulled slowly out of Alice's drive.

Oh, I don't know why she's leaving,
Or where she's gonna go,
I guess she's got her reasons,
But I just don't want to know,
'Cos for twenty-four years I've been living next door to Alice.
Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
To tell her how I feel, and maybe get a second glance,
Now I gotta get used to not living next door to Alice...

And Sally called back and asked how I felt,
And she said: "I know how to help get over Alice".
She said: "Now Alice is gone, but I'm still here;
You know I've been waiting for twenty-four years..."
And the big limousine dissapeared...

I don't know why she's leaving,
Or where she's gonna go,
I guess she's got her reasons,
But I just don't want to know,
'Cos for twenty-four years I've been living next door to Alice.
Twenty-four years just waiting for a chance,
To tell her how I feel, and maybe get a second glance,
But I'll never get used to not living next door to Alice...

No I'll never get used to not living next door to Alice...
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2013, 05:18 AM   #1872 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,970
Default


Can you believe it's almost two years since I last turned the spotlight on a particular artiste in this section? I can: it's hard, tough, gruelling work, doing all the research and listening to the music, putting the article together and trying to get all the facts, figures and dates right. The last time I attempted this was back in December of 2011, when we looked at the career of a-ha, who are now broken up. This time, I want to concentrate on the music of a man who sadly has passed away, but whose music lives on, even if not that many people are fully aware of it, or him.

Part I: From the River to the Valley: A Song Cycle begins
Despite having hit singles, albums that sold well and virtually writing the most played song at weddings, few if any of you reading this are likely to know who this man is, much less any of his music. Some of you will probably have heard “Run for the roses”, “Leader of the band” or indeed the perennial Christmas favourite, “Same old lang syne”, if not the song alluded to above, his biggest ever hit, “Longer”. But even then, you probably just like the song, and have no idea who sings it. Let me enlighten you.

Born in Peoria, Illinois to a father who was a bandleader and a mother who trained classically on the piano, Daniel Grayling “Dan” Fogelberg (1951-2007) naturally gravitated towards an interest in music, and taught himself to play guitar and piano before age fourteen. Like most youngsters with a musical inclination, he joined or formed various bands, most of whose material was, inevitably, covers, but he differs from many at this age when two songs he wrote for his second band, The Coachmen, were released as singles. He was only sixteen at the time he wrote these, showing even then his talent for songwriting and musicianship. During this time he would sit by the banks of the mighty Illinois River, write and play his music, and imagine escaping from his smalltown life, out into the great wide world that was waiting for him. The river would remain a huge icon in, and influence on, his songwriting over the years, surfacing most deeply on his debut album.
Spoiler for Coachmen I:
Spoiler for Coachmen II:

As you can hear, if you clicked the videos below, the second one shown, “Maybe time will let me forget” is the slower of the two, with a certain Hollies/Bee Gees sound to it, and it was for sweet ballads and songs with a tale to tell that Dan would become best known. I don't think he sang on either of these though, and of course he would always sing his own music, occasionally with someone else but usually solo. Discovered at the beginning of the seventies by Irving Azoff, who had just recently introduced the world to REO Speedwagon, Dan received his parents' guarded blessing to drop out of college and head to California to pursue a music career. After shopping his tape around to various labels trying to get the best deal, Azoff finally announced that he had signed Dan to Columbia, and his debut album was released in 1972.

Although an excellent album, “Home free” is not typical of the sort of music Dan would later play, and popularise. It's very country-oriented, with songs like “More than ever” and “Live in the country” utilising pedal steel, dobro and fiddle, though there are some sumptuous ballads there too, like the opener, the gentle “To the morning”, the beautiful “Be on your way” and “Hickory grove”, and the beginnings of more rocky material with the closer, the powerful “The river”, on which Dan's burgeoning skill on the guitar comes to the fore.
Spoiler for To the morning:

Unsurprisingly though, the album was a flop commercially. It was said that the production didn't suit Dan's music, that it was “too country”, but that's a cheap get-out. The fact is that, tender and gentle and a minor masterpiece as this album was, there was no hit single on it. Nothing lent itself to airplay, and while many people might indeed buy the album and luxuriate in its soft melodies and sweet ballads, no DJ was going to play them on the radio. It would take more commercial, more radio-friendly fare before Dan would manage to make his first big break.
Spoiler for The River:


For the next album the help of Joe Walsh, legendary member of the Eagles, was enlisted, and he quickly brought in others to help --- on Dan's request --- people like Don Henley and Glenn Frey, and Russ Kunkel, Graham Nash and of course Walsh himself. The album was a far rockier affair, and as a result of some fevered writing and a work ethic that almost refused to take a break, Dan had his first big hit with “Part of the plan”, which actually opens the album. Even from the sleeve though, you can see a more intense, focussed songwriter; while still relaxed in familar, homely surroundings, Dan looks more determined to make you listen, whereas on the cover of the debut album he looks like some sort of throwback to the sixties folk era, not exactly eliciting excitement and a fresh sound, though in fairness any who passed over the album on the basis of the cover missed out on some great songs. But on “Souvenirs”, he looks young, dynamic, interesting. And indeed, that image is carried through to the music.
Spoiler for Part of the plan:

It's generally more uptempo, faster, less wistful than a lot of the songs that characterised “Home free”. Much of it sounds airplay-worthy, and though there was only the one single taken from it, there are many tracks on it that could have been released. It's a mixture of heartfelt ballads like the title track and “The long way”, with more upbeat fare like “Someone's been telling you stories” and “As the raven flies”, with even a straight-ahead, hoe-down country bopper in “Morning sky”. But for me the standout is the slow, swaying ballad that closes the album, “There's a place in the world for a gambler”, with its sentimental, almost lounge-bar atmosphere and its evocation of perhaps old western heroes realising their time is up and they must settle down.
Spoiler for Souvenirs:

Many others vie for the second standout, however, with the title track, “Illinois”, “Song from half mountain” and “The long way” all good contenders. There's a better mix of instruments on this album, with the likes of accordion, sousaphone and twelve-string all featuring, and of course the guest stars on the album certainly didn't hurt its sales. The fact that Joe Walsh could secure such talent to play on Dan's album was a clear indication he was headed for the big time, and his first hit single had already broken the top twenty.
Spoiler for There's a place in the world for a gambler:

After the success of “Part of the plan”, Dan was not exactly a household name, but he was a star, and he hit the road in 1974 for two years, enjoying his newfound fame. He was suddenly and cruelly brought back to reality however with the news his father was ill, and dropped everything to return to Peoria to be with his family. Luckily, his dad pulled through and while he had been staying at the hospital during the days he was writing in a studio by night, resulting in the production of his third album.

It's a strange little album, almost little more than an EP, with its weirdly cartoonish, almost bondage-related cover, and boasting only a total of eight tracks, running for just over half an hour. In general it seems to float between the more laidback folky country of his debut and the rockier, more uptempo and contemporary feel of “Souvenirs” and indeed later records. There's a lot of pedal steel, fiddle and banjo on it, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it does seem to suggest a sort of step backwards, though he would address this with his fourth album.
Spoiler for Captured angel:

It hurts to admit it, but “Captured angel” is an album I've only listened to once or twice, and to be honest I don't really like it. “Home free”, while in something the same style, is miles ahead of it in terms of song quality. It was however the last album that would cling to the country influences here, as his next one would be characterised mostly by big, cinematic, classically-led pieces. It would not yield any more hit singles, and Dan's rise to true fame would be a little slower, but it's a great album with some truly powerful material.
Spoiler for Crow:
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018

Last edited by Trollheart; 04-15-2015 at 12:24 PM.
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 05:24 AM   #1873 (permalink)
Horribly Creative
 
Unknown Soldier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: London, The Big Smoke
Posts: 8,265
Default

I can just picture you listening to Smokie with a mug of tea in your hand
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by eraser.time206 View Post
If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
Metal Wars

Power Metal

Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History
Unknown Soldier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 09:11 AM   #1874 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
Powerstars's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 450
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Bigger, even, than Powerstars' love of the Beatles!!
Damn, that must be pretty big! I'll be sure to read. Good thing my 3DS runs MB well. And in the future, when using me as a point of comparison in terms of size, please instead mention my large greasy c-...I mean....uh...

Really though, thank you so much for the mention.
__________________
My New Journal
Favorite Album Of The Moment: They Might Be Giants - Glean
Powerstars is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2013, 05:13 AM   #1875 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,970
Default

Part II: From the valley to the mountains: Sketches, nocturnes and a gypsy wind
Some of the inspiration for that fourth album would come of course from his mother, but the feel and themes for it would be driven by his purchase of a house high in the Rocky Mountains, where he could feel at one with nature and muse on the meaning of life. Much of this sense of being part of something greater comes through in the album, which was released in 1977.

It's immediately apparent from the cover that Dan has at this point changed his image, and the murkier, darker and more mature face of the man looking out from the sleeve shows you how much Dan has grown. As a matter of fact, it's the first of his albums where he's not looking directly at the camera, but is in fact looking down and a little away, as if either distracted or perhaps deep in thought, maybe communing with the universe. He's grown a beard and to be honest he looks a little like Jesus, though I'm sure he would never have claimed such a resemblance. But it's really a portrait of the artist as a young man, and he is now at this point twenty-six years old, approaching something of a crossroads that all men and women have to pass, the age of thirty.

Like the sleeve, much of the material is darker, too. Songs like “Loose ends”, “Once upon a time” and even the title track betray a perhaps world-weariness, a realisation that life isn't all fun and a deep and abiding love for, and respect of nature. The title track sounds like something out of a movie, with its huge orchestral arrangements and powerful sweeping soundscapes, while in the middle is a simple piano melody, bringing everything back to earth. The overriding impression I get from this opener is of space, and I can see how he wrote it overlooking the Continental Divide, high up in the mountains.
Spoiler for Nether lands:

For this album Dan brought back some of the mates who had helped him out on his second outing: Joe Walsh returns, as does Don Henley and Russ Kunkel. Joe Lalas, who had also played on “Souvenirs”, is another who reprises his role on drums, and J.D. Souther is another Eagle who plays on this album. It features, too, the first contribution from flautist Tim Weisberg, with whom Dan would later record two duet albums. Dan has at this point taken charge of production himself, obviously stretching his wings as he develops as an artiste.
Spoiler for Sketches/False faces:

This album also sees Dan honing his skill as a writer of gorgeous, tear-jerking ballads, with the fragile “Sketches” almost closing the album, its haunting piano melody almost taking the entire song solo, and the beautifully lazy “Scarecrow's dream”, but it has its fast moments too in songs like “Love gone by”, with its bouncing piano runs. It's probably the first album that features material you would have to call dark or deeper, “Loose ends”, the first song he wrote for the album, being a prime example. In what would become a typical fashion for Dan however, his next album would change all that had gone before, and move in quite a different direction.

When you've achieved the level of success and fame that Dan Fogelberg had by this point, it's usually a bad idea to veer sharp left and try something completely new, but this became something of a hallmark of Dan's output over the next few years, as he broadened his musical horizons and included new influences into his music. This was the first collaboration he made with jazz flautist Tim Weisberg, who had guested on one of his earlier albums. As the two men looked quite similar, the album featured both of them on the cover, and was imaginatively titled “Twin sons of different mothers”. It contained a mix of instrumental, semi-classical pieces and some vocal ones too, and rather surprisingly for such an eclectic album yielded a hit single in the form of “The power of gold”.
Spoiler for The power of gold:

Even more of a surprise was the fact that, the album having been made in the face of growing commercial success as a “step back” from the glitz and glamour of the music business, and intended to be for the fans only, and expecting it to be panned that it went top twenty, thanks to the last-minute addition. Yes, “The power of gold” was only thrown together and put on the album at the eleventh hour, when the piece the pair had wanted to close the album hit a snag, and on the success of that last-minute hit single the album was a huge triumph. But it showed that even when he wasn't really trying, Dan could write a hit single. It is in fact a wonderful album, with no input to the writing from Weisberg, who was happy enough to just play alongside Dan.
Spoiler for Hurtwood Alley:

It features such beautiful compositions as “Paris Nocturne”, with its intentionally French-sounding accordion, mandolin and beautiful string section, the boppy uptempo “Hurtwood Alley”, and the introspective “Guitar etude No. 3”, but for me the standout on it is the gorgeous, softly fragile ballad “Since you've asked”, the only song on the album not composed by Dan, one of two covers, the other being the Hollies' “Tell me to my face”. Weisberg's sprightly flute playing definitely adds something to the music and changes the focus, injecting an interesting flavour of jazz into the mix of classical, folk and rock that already existed there.
Spoiler for Since you've asked:

Bemused, but also galvanised by the almost accidental success of the album, Dan descended into a flurry of furious songwriting that would culminate in one of his most lauded albums ever, and provide the hit that would forever define him, and for which people would always afterwards know him.

Perhaps the title was meant to refer to the fact that Dan was returning to the soft rock and ballads that has made his name, coming back, as it were, to planned commerciality, but whatever the reason this album did indeed see a resurgence in his popularity, which would continue well into the next decade. The joy and enthusiasm evident in the title track, which is almost the opener but for a short instrumental, shows a man who is delighted to be back recording again, and determined to share that joy with the world. Songs like “Gypsy wind”, “Wishing on the moon” and “Heart hotels” are all infectiously catchy, while having a lot to say.
Spoiler for Phoenix:

His biggest triumph however would come with the ballad “Longer”, which would become one his best-loved and best-known songs, just narrowly missing out on the number one spot but would remain at the number two slot for two consecutive weeks. It is also the only of Dan's singles to even chart in the UK. Its theme of the permanence and power of love has made it a favourite at weddings, and one of the most requested love songs ever. There's a lovely flugelhorn solo in the bridge that really adds something to an already great song.
Spoiler for Longer:

This album is the first one on which Dan would tackle any sort of political theme, with “Face the fire” looking at the issue of disappearing natural resources and the consequences that may have down the line. It's also one of the heaviest tracks on this, or any of his albums prior, with a big growling guitar sound and a pretty screeching solo to finish it off. This would be the beginning of Dan's foray into the world of political songwriting, and the next few albums would tackle such subjects as the plight of the indigineous Native American tribes, global warming, poverty and the aged.
Spoiler for Face the fire:

In 1979, Dan achieved one of his lifetime ambitions, to show his proud father that he was a legitimate musician too, when he played Carnegie Hall with his parents in the audience. Buoyed by this success and adulation, he returned to writing, but although one of his biggest hit singles, the Christmas favourite, “Same old lang syne”, resulted from these sessions, Dan felt he had too much material to include in the next album and that his vision for it was that it would have to be a double. His record label were not impressed, eager for a new album they could promote, particularly on the back of the success of the single, but Dan was adamant and Irving Azoff backed him, and the label simply had to wait. In the end, they were glad they had.

Double albums have never been popular, not with record companies. More expensive, often harder to get into for the fan and sometimes filled out with substandard material, they're a hard sell. They must have been delighted then to find that this double album yielded not one, not two, but four hit singles, and became Dan's most successful of his career. Billed as “a song cycle”, it traces the search for the meaning of life, from birth to death, with its opener “Nexus”, describing the process of birth and its closer, “Ghosts”, tackling the subject of death. In between, Dan explores, in more detail than he ever has to date, the human condition, with songs like “The lion's share”, “Hard to say” and “In the passage”.
Spoiler for Same old lang syne:

Dan also invited back some of the icons who had helped him out on previous albums, among them Russ Kunkel and Don Henley, and performed a beautiful duet with country superstar Emmylou Harris on “Only the heart may know”. He also arranged for his father to conduct the “Washington post march” that forms the final few seconds of what became one of his biggest hits, a tribute to Lawrence Fogelberg, “The leader of the band”. There are other hit singles on the album too, including the lead single “Same old lang syne”, as well as “Run for the roses”, which was written by Dan for the Kentucky Derby, and “Hard to say”, on which Glenn Frey provides backing vocals.
Spoiler for Only the heart may know:

If Dan was not already established as a top singer/songwriter, “The innocent age” planted him firmly in the limelight, and became one of his biggest-selling albums, despite the initial reluctance of his label to agree to a double album. Dan was now able to sell out huge concert arenas, playing to audiences he could only ever previously dream of. His songs were on the radio all the time, and people were beginning to know and recognise the talent of this man, now turning thirty, from Illinois. Surely his next album would be the one to capitalise and build on this success, and his rising star would shoot even higher?
Spoiler for In the passage:
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 02:54 PM   #1876 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,970
Default

Part III: Falling from the mountain: Never rains but it snows
Although I personally consider it one of his best-crafted and important albums ever, critics hated his 1984 effort, “Windows and walls”. I don't know why, but they did. Maybe it's just easier to tear something down when there's just a tiny foothold to grab, but this album produced no hits and largely went unremarked upon and made no impression upon the charts, but it's a fine album, with again some of Dan's darkest lyrics and some tough subject matter.

Continuing a practice that had begun with “Phoenix” and followed through to “The innocent age”, this album has no picture of Dan on the cover. Instead, there's a picture of an empty room, with an old rocking-chair as the centrepiece. The sleeve denotes loneliness, neglect, age, and indeed “Windows and walls” explores the concept of neglect, most powerfully in the title track but also in the longest on the album, “Tucson, Arizona (Gazette)”, where Dan sings of two lost souls coming together, both of whom have been effectively abandoned by society, and who go off together on one last fatal road trip. The song also contains his first, and only, reference to the use of drugs, possibly a reason why the album was looked down on, and also why this song would get little radio airplay.
Spoiler for Tucson, Arzona (Gazette):

But it's one song, one reference, and should not be taken as characterising the whole album. There are the usual great ballads, “Believe in me”, “Sweet Magnolia”, as well as more fiery, uptempo almost rock numbers like “Let her go” and “The language of love”, not to mention his dire warning of the path we're all headed on if we don't change our ways, in the closer “Gone too far”, which features a storming guitar opening and an atmospheric, chilling conclusion almost akin to the end of the world. Dan certainly had a lot to say, and was not shy about saying it.
Spoiler for Believe in me:

His commercial popularity however, sadly, would come to pretty much an end here. After the huge expectations of a follow-up to a blockbuster like “The innocent age”, it would seem to the world at large that he had not delivered, and his next album would perhaps be a backlash against that by the artist, a feeling of to hell with them, I'm going back to my roots. Returning to the style of his debut, the new album was even more country-oriented, with a strong bluegrass sound helped along by the likes of Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill and his own idol, Chris Hillman all joining to help him create an album that was so far off the beaten track in terms of commercial appeal, and so removed from his recent bestsellers that he even went back to using a picture of himself on the cover.

Again, I have to admit that I really hated this album. At the time, of course, it came as a great shock to me that Dan Fogelberg would release a country album. The hints, of course, are there if you look for them: in the title of the album (though I had assumed that just to mean, snows in the high country, country with a lowercase “c”) and in the songs. Titles like “Sutter's mill”, “The outlaw” and “Wandering shepherd” can of course now be seen to indicate a country album, but at the time I didn't know he was going in this direction and I mentally lambasted the album. I think I even sold it, not wanting it in my collection. Ah, the naivete of youth!
Spoiler for Sutter's Mill:

It wasn't until much later, when I downloaded it in the age of the internet, and listened to it --- really listened to it, this time --- that I realised what a fine album it is. Sure, it's not the Dan Fogelberg I'd come to know and love, and not the music I had expected, but it was a brave step, possibly even a commercially unsound one, for him to decide to go in that direction. The album, unsurprisingly, did not do well --- on the mainstream charts. But it did very well in the country charts, and has in fact gone down as one of the bestselling bluegrass albums in history.
Spoiler for The higher you climb:

Again, though, for me this was a bump in the road, and I greedily and impatiently awaited his next, ahem, real album. I would have to wait two more years though, but it would be worth it. Dan began writing songs for the new album soon after finishing “High country snows”, at the tail-end of 1985, and during this time he was going through his first divorce --- he was married three times. Whereas he had previously admitted that he had not had much luck in the way of relationships and wrote about the lives and loves of others, observational rather than personal songwriting, he now had more than enough relationship baggage to inform a whole album, and like Phil Collins in 1981, that was exactly the kind of album he produced.

As if to cast aside some of his past, change his image and his outlook, try to put the past behind him as much as he could, Dan sports a totally new look on the cover, which again returns to the practice --- abandoned between 1979 and 1984 --- of using a picture of himself on the sleeve. He's shaven, clean cut. The long straggly locks he sported even on the last album are gone, as are the chunky jumpers and scarves, and for perhaps the first time when an image of him has been used, he's looking directly at the camera, directly at the buyer or owner of the record. His eyes are deep and soulful, serious and just a little intimate, a little dangerous too, and there's for the first time seen in his face the barest suggestions of Native American. I don't think there is any such blood in his family, but his face just seems to have that shape. Maybe it's a trick of the light, or the way the photograph was framed.
Spoiler for Lonely in love:

The album, too, is more serious. Mostly dealing with relationships and how they break down, there's bitterness in “She don't look back”, anger and frustration in “Look what you're doing”, and yearning emptiness in ballads like “Seeing you again” and “Our last farewell”. The album didn't yield any hits --- that part of his fame was over for Dan, and in ways I don't think he was sorry --- but there are some amazing tracks on it, like the piano-driven “Hearts in decline”, with its soulful vocal chorus, or the staggering closer (on my vinyl copy, anyway) “Our last farewell”, in which Dan finally accepts what has happened and prepares to move on.
Spoiler for Hearts in decline:

By this point, Russ Kunkel and Joe Lalas were both firmly entrenched as permanent fixtures in Dan's band, both on the road and in the studio, and his expertise on other instruments was coming to the fore: on this album he plays guitar, synthesiser, drum machine, vibraphone, bass, acoustic guitar, piano, guitar synth, keyboards and of course sings.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018

Last edited by Trollheart; 09-21-2013 at 05:17 AM.
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2013, 03:03 AM   #1877 (permalink)
Groupie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Thanx man! Good to be back! Expect to hear a lot more from me in the coming days...

One thing: is there any reason why the YouTube tags won't work for me? Drp in your YT link, highlight/select and wrap the YT tags around it, should work, no? Anything I'm doing wrong, or has it all changed since I was last here?

Thx for any help!

TH
Really is a risk and make the speed of my network slow if others know the password of my wifi, but I need to use it sometimes so when I do not need to use the wifi net I use the wifi blocker to block the signal and protect my net. I get the device.
EonathanLelt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2013, 04:40 AM   #1878 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,970
Default

Part IV: Back to the river, and out into the universe: a voice in the wilderness
In 1990 he would meet the woman who was to become his second wife a year later, Anastasia Savage, and about whom he would pen a lovesong on his eleventh album. Part of a double set, “The wild places” was in fact released three years before the followup, second part, but he had intended the two albums to bookend each other, telling a story of the abuse of nature and the environment by man, and warning, as he had briefly on previous albums, that something had to be done or we would all regret it in the future.

However, this album also retraced the time he spent at sea on his boat, evoking and remembering the stillness and solitude when he lived in the Rockies (he now lived on a ranch in Colorado); it's full of reflections and musings, remembrances and memories. The pain of his first divorce seems in the distant past now, and his new love has reinvigorated his songwriting. Like “Phoenix”, it's kicked off by a short instrumental which then powers into the title track, an exploration and prayer to the joy of nature. His dedication to the woman who would become his second wife, “Anastasia's eyes”, is one of the loveliest ballads he had written in years, and he returned to the subject of his family, and their family, in the song “Forefathers”, where he chronicled the meeting of his mother and father and their move to the USA, his own birth and that of his two brothers, and the different paths they each took in life.
Spoiler for Forefathers:

But the political themes are there for all to see, and the anger evident in songs like “Blind to the truth” and his cover of Bruce Cockburn's “Lovers in a dangerous time" is shot through with frustration that everyone can't see the world as he does, see what we're doing to our planet and decide to stop before it's too late. This is balanced by lighter fare such as “The song of the sea” and his rendition of the Cascades' classic “Rhythm of the rain”, and he also references Native American and other cultures concerned with more spiritual things as an alternative to what he sees as big business choking the world, desperate for a buck.
Spoiler for Anastasia's eyes:


Dan had always been a strong advocate of human rights and of preserving nature, and he was truly shocked by how the world was going, determined to do anything he could, through his medium, to raise awareness of the wrong path humanity was on, and try to help us see that there was another way. His next album, released in 1993, which formed the second part of the song cycle begun on “The wild places”, addresses this very forcefully, with tracks like “All there is” and “Faces of America”, the latter betraying a familiarity with Springsteen. But there are lighter moments too, like the salsa-influenced and joyful “Magic every moment”, which opens the album, the infectious “Serengeti moon”, which more than any other song really shows Dan's love of and respect for nature and all living things, and the Beatles-inspired ballad “A love like this”.
Spoiler for Serengeti moon:

It's hard however to ignore the small but strong voice that runs throughout this album, at times whispering and at times shouting for change, for understanding, for just basic human sanity in a world that seems to have gone crazy. The title track, with its laidback, sultry, almost bossa-nova rhythm and the anthemic powerful closer, “A voice for peace”, underline this best. I do wonder, however, about the brass-run, jazz-inflected “Holy road”, which seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to both the melody and rhythm of Nanci Griffith's “One blade shy of a sharp edge”, which appeared on her “Late night grande hotel” album, released two years previously. Coincidence? You'd have to hope so.
Spoiler for A voice for peace:

His second song cycle, as it were, complete, Dan relaxed a little and decided to get in touch again with his old partner Tim Weisberg, but for their second collaboration they shared a joke which would only be apparent to fans and those who had seen the sleeve of the “Twin sons of different mothers” album. On that one, as mentioned, Dan and Tim look quite alike --- whether this was happenstance or contrived I don't know --- but at this point almost twenty years had passed and any resemblance between the two men had disappeared. Consequently, they called the album “No resemblance whatsoever”, but recreated the cover of the first album, making it quite plain that they were no twins of any sort. Nice one, guys.

Once again, Tim was more than happy to leave the writing to Dan, and every song on this album is one of his, other than two covers of Youngbloods songs. The cleverly-titled “Forever Jung” features a truly beautiful flute solo by Weisberg against a bopping, easy beat, with some slick jazzy brass, while the opener, “County Clare”, showcases Dan at his laidback best on the piano joined by Tim on a song that's rather expectedly given a celtic, Irish feel thanks to the lovely, haunting flute. Much of the album, like its predecessor seventeen years prior, is instrumental, and you can tell it's obviously an album made for the sheer joy of making music, that the two men enjoyed working together and were eager to do so again.

Dan is not averse to showing his virtuosity on the guitar either, as evidenced in the Spanish-leaning “Todos santos” and you have to believe that the second-last track, entitled “Stasia”, is intended to be dedicated to his second wife, for whom he also wrote a song on the album “The wild places” in 1990. This would be the last time Weisberg and Fogelberg would work together, but they produced two fine, and very different, albums through their collaborations.
Spoiler for County Clare:


A year after the completion of this album, Dan and Anastasia would break up. I'm not privy to the details --- they're not even available from his own personal website --- and probably correct, too: some things are private and should remain so. Apart from a Christmas album released as the millennium turned, Dan's next, and indeed last album was released in 2003, one year after he met his third, and final, wife, Jean Marie Mayer. With no pressure any more for hit singles or crowd-pleasers, and comfortable in his own musical skin, Dan returned to the folk/country days of his early years, creating an album that would bring, as the title suggested, his music and his life full circle.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 05:14 AM   #1879 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,970
Default

Part V: Sleeping in light: the final years
It's one of the great cruelties, and ironies of nature that having found the woman he would have been happy to have spent the rest of his life with, that life was cut tragically short. Dan and Jean would only have five years together before fate stepped in. As Dan relaxed, happy in his achievements and looking forward to a new life with his new wife, the world seemed a good place, and he comfortably released what would be his last album, returning to the soft folk rock and acoustic simplicity of his early years.

The album starts off with a beautiful little instrumental and then goes into the first track, which really puts me more in mind of 1979's “Phoenix” than anything, and is quite uptempo. There's a great exuberance about the track, the simple joy of living really. Dan also paid tribute to his heroes on this album, with the title track being a cover of the Byrds' song, “Whispers in the wind” written in the style of Gordon Lightfoot, while “Reason to run” is, in his own words, evoking the Buffalo Springfield/Crazy Horse style. The closer, then, is a song by the Turtles, and one whose subject matter was always close to Dan's heart.
Spoiler for Half Moon Bay:

Always a giving person, through the medium of his music and just through his relationship with other people, Dan has included songs of advice and encouragement on the album, like “Once in love”, which is a message of hope and optimism for those whose hearts have been broken, and “This heart”, which he wrote for Jean. Possibly unintentionally prophetic, it may have prepared her for the terrible news and the awful times that were soon to present themselves. But there's introspection too, as there usually was on a Dan Fogelberg record, with “Reach Haven postcard” and “Drawing pictures”, songs that reach back across time and evoke memories of his debut album, as well as “Souvenirs”.
Spoiler for Drawing pictures:

Perhaps the standout though, and a fitting swan song, though it's not the closer, is “Icarus ascending”, in which Dan considers the often painful path of an artist. Life on the road, alone in a studio for often days at a time, living in hotels and on airliners and buses isn't the choice everyone would make, and as he says himself, it's not always about money: many artistes, in every field, struggled during their lifetime and were often not recognised until after their death. Sure, it's great if you can be a legend in your own lifetime, and amass the bank account to go with it, but it doesn't always happen that way. Dan always followed his heart, often sacificing the chance for a stable family life, but right up to the end he never regretted it, nor I think would he have done things differently given a second chance.
Spoiler for Icarus ascending:

Just one year after this wonderful album was finished, Dan and Jean received the terrible news that we all, at that age, dread and hope never to hear. Diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2004, Dan underwent treatment which, for a while, seemed to beat the disease into remission, but heartbreakingly it came back and took him from us on December 16 2007. He was only fifty-six.

A year after his death, Jean released a song he had written for her for Valentine's Day 2005, on the internet for download in support of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The song was later included in the very last Dan Fogelberg record, a collection of unreleased songs he had been working on for years, an unexpected but extremely welcome last farewell from the man who had enriched the lives of so many through his music, his spirituality and his pure humanity.

It's hard not to listen to this without being moved, even upset. It's like the artist is calling from the Great Beyond, playing one last gig before his voice is forever silenced, though in truth that will never happen as long as people keep playing his records. This album continues the ideas and themes explored in “Full circle”, with lush, gorgeous ballads and some more upbeat numbers, standouts being the title track and the aching “The colour of Eve.”
Spoiler for The colours of Eve:

There are also two cover versions on the album, one from Larry Hickman and the closer a version of Neil Young's “Birds”. Of course, as mentioned it contains the song he wrote for his third wife, “Sometimes a song”, and it's one of the nicest and most emotional love songs I've heard from him in some time. I'm sure she was very moved. The almost-closer is painfully poignant, and “Days to come” looks forward, as Dan always did, to better times, unaware that by the time this song saw the light of day such times would be beyond his reach. However, unselfish as ever, Dan wishes in the song for good times not just for himself, but for everyone. It's an uptempo rocker, enthusiastic and joyful, and probably best reflects Dan's positive outlook on life.
Spoiler for Days to come:


So deep was the impression he made on his hometown, and on the world, that one of the streets in Peoria was renamed in his honour, fitting indeed as not only is it the street where he went to school, where his father taught music, but also the scene of the chance meeting with an old lover that inspired one of his biggest hits, “Same old lang syne”. In 2010, a permanent memorial garden was dedicated to his memory by the citizens, in a beautiful park where no doubt he once sat and wrote and played guitar, and dreamed of becoming a star out there in the wide world.

Despite having three marriages, unfortunately Dan left no heirs behind, so it's left to Jean to keep his memory alive, though in that endeavour she is no doubt helped by an army of fans and lovers of his music. Over a period of over thirty years Dan Fogelberg created music and told stories that have passed into the world consciousness. Even if you're not a fan or have never heard of him, I bet you've heard “Longer”, “Same old lang syne” or one of his other hits. He just had that sort of effect on the world, and it's a poorer, colder place for his loss. A true artist to the end, Dan pursued the path he wanted to take throughout his life, living where his muse took him, sometimes beating his head against the piano keyboard in frustration when the lyrics and the melodies wouldn't come, but they always did in the end. He compromised for no-one, and though he had hit singles he never set out to consciously write them. For him, it was all about the music. The music was the purest thing in his life; it coloured and gave meaning to his existence, and through him, we are all just a little richer for his efforts.

The final word I leave to the memory of the man himself, spoken to music journalist Rex Rutkowski when interviewed about the album “Full circle”. Unaware of course that this would turn out to be the last recording he would make, he nevertheless mused "It has a kind of final feeling to me. It would really be a wonderful way to end, going all the way back to where I started. It feels very complete. It feels like a great place to conclude what I started with 'Home Free' “

Dan, we thank you for the music, and you're finally home now. Rest easy, my friend.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 05:17 AM   #1880 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,970
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by EonathanLelt View Post
Really is a risk and make the speed of my network slow if others know the password of my wifi, but I need to use it sometimes so when I do not need to use the wifi net I use the wifi blocker to block the signal and protect my net. I get the device.
What the FUCK is this and why is it in my journal???? Could some mod please remove? This does not belong here and has nothing to do with me. Thanks in advance.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2024 Advameg, Inc.