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Old 09-27-2011, 09:33 AM   #301 (permalink)
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Random Track of the Day
Tuesday, September 26 2011
Good rockin' ahead! Today's spin on the random-o-meter brings us the king of the blues (well, recent anyway), Gary Moore, from his album “Back to the blues”, this is “You upset me baby”.

You upset me baby --- Gary Moore --- from "Back to the blues" on CMC International


Recently we celebrated the softer side of the late Mr. Moore, running through his ballads and blues songs. This is him in opposite mode, in full flight with a rocking, stomping tune more representative of the great BB King at his most lively, a timely reminder that the Irish axeman could not only play the most heartbreaking and introspective blues, but rock like a lunatic too!
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:37 AM   #302 (permalink)
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Let's keep it rockin' for today, suggests the worm, and who would argue with him? One of the best timeless classics around, this is Eric Clapton, under the name of Derek and the Dominoes, and the excellent “Layla” --- the original, rocky version, not the plodding, boring acoustic one that tended to take over in recent times.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:05 AM   #303 (permalink)
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Some more themed songs seems to be in order, so this time I'm looking at songs that are about, or have to do with, members of the animal kingdom. There aren't as many as you would think, you know! At least, I had to struggle to think of enough for this section. Here at any rate are the best of the ones I came up with.

Taking wing first (see what I did there?) with Prince's number one smash, “When doves cry”.


Staying with our feathered friends for the moment, here's Snowy White, he of ex-Thin Lizzy, with what I believe was his only solo hit, the lovely “Bird of Paradise”.


It's so cool it just HAS to be included! Theme to the cartoon about the most suave and pink cat on telly, it's of course Henry Mancini's theme to the “Pink Panther”.


And keeping with the felines, here's Al Stewart with a seventies classic, “The year of the cat”.


Not a huge fan of Duran Duran, but I did like “Hungry like the wolf”, and it fits in with today's theme, so...


Another from the seventies, this is the Sweet, with “Fox on the run”.


Coming right up to date now, with a track from Robbie Williams' “Escapology”, the often hilarious “Me and my monkey”.


And we couldn't forget Bob Marley. This is “Buffalo soldier”.


Great song from Geldof before he got all mega-famous and preachy, and when the only “sir” he knew was his teacher at school, the wonderful “Rat trap”.


And let's finish up with the mega-smooth Hall and Oates, maybe stretching it a little, but hell, “Maneater” is a great song!


Hey, that wasn't so hard! Next “Variations” will be for Halloween, when I'll be featuring songs all about supernatural beings, ghosties and things that go bump in the night! BOO! Watch for it...
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:17 AM   #304 (permalink)
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No. 4: “Face the music” by Electric Light Orchestra

Been a while since we deconstructed an album cover, so let's do that now. Taking as our subject the 1975 album from the Electric Light Orchestra, “Face the music”, the first thing that strikes you is the sombre, even macabre nature of the sleeve. Your eye is drawn immediately to the figure in the centre of the picture, “Old Sparky” hisself, the electric chair (Fig. 1). Brrr! From there your gaze wanders upwards, and it's directed thus, because the album cover is mostly in darkness, the only thing relieving the blackness of the top half of the picture being three huge metal structures which hang down, as if from the roof, and are spaced across the top of the album cover (Fig. 5). Each is carved into a letter: an “E”, an “L” and an “O”, to spell out the acronym of the band, and also each letter has the full word carved into it, so that the “E” has “electric” carved down its side, the “L” “light” and the “O” “orchestra”. The huge metal letters look very imposing, and heighten the sense of dread of the cover.


That's about as much as you can see clearly without looking more closely, but if we zoom in on the electric chair, a few things become apparent about it. First, in Fig. 2, we see that there is a cushion placed on the seat. Now, generally the comfort of those about to be executed is not uppermost in the minds of the prison staff, so why is there a cushion there? If not for comfort, is it to raise the condemned man (or woman, but let's assume it's a man) to the proper height? Is he short, or indeed is he a young man, perhaps even a child? The mind boggles.

Then in Fig. 3 we can see what appears to be a pair of headphones. This, of course, links to the double-entendre title of the album. Beside the chair is a long stand of some sort, looking a little like a microphone stand (Fig. 10), yet on top of it looks to be a pipe (Fig. 4)! Who would go to “the Chair” smoking a pipe, unless of course it was their last request? But even so, would it be allowed? I mean, actually IN the chair?

Near the top of the chair, to one side there appears to be a hole burned in the wall, though on closer inspection it could be interpreted as a dark figure (the shadow of Death?) leaning over the condemned man (Fig 6), while on the floor on either side of the chair, shadows of its frame do indeed look like cowled and hooded figures awaiting the passing of sentence (Fig. 7).

Finally, there are a few places where the letter “E” seems to have formed, indeed in the way it is used in ELO's logo. Once along the wall at the left of the chair (as we look at it), in the coils of the wires that lead up to it (Fig. 8) and again in the arching rheostats that run along the top of the back of the chair, carrying the current, though in this case it's on its side (Fig. 9). Oh yes, and even the pedestal of the microphone stand bears more than a passing resemblance to the ELO logo (Fig. 11)!

All of which makes for a pretty macabre album sleeve. Whether all that's noted above was intended, or whether that's just my ghoulish imagination seeing things that are not there, I don't know, but it's certainly an interesting, provocative and unsettling album sleeve, from a band not noted for such displays.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:08 AM   #305 (permalink)
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An ancient Egyptian blessing, and I'll certainly need it!
Taking a very small leaf out of Jackhammer's book, I've decided to try to experience music other than that with which I'm familiar, not necessarily to get into it, as I pretty much know it won't suit me, but just to have a more informed opinion when people ask me why I don't like it.

Seems odd, perhaps? Well maybe, but at least I won't be speaking out of ignorance when I say how I don't like this or that sort of music. I suppose there could be a shock conversion, it's always possible: where is the road to Damascus, anyway?

This new section I will be titling Stranger in a strange land, but it won't be starting up for a while, as I have to immerse myself in the first of the styles I normally wouldn't touch with a ten-foot bargepole --- I don't even own a barge --- and this will be (ugh)... Boybands!

Yes, I'm going to take the plunge and see what is so attractive, apparently, about the music of bands like Blue, Boyzone, Westlife, Five and their ilk. Of course, I'm fully aware that probably about eighty percent of the attraction is the pretty boys, but is that all there is to it, or is there any decent or semi-decent music lurking in there? Or is it, as I expect, nothing but empty, soulless drivel designed to make money for the record label and sell concert tickets?

If you have the stomach for it, join me when Stranger in a strange land premiers in a few weeks' time, but be warned: it ain't gonna be an easy ride!

I'm off to make out my will now, just in case...
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:54 AM   #306 (permalink)
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Random Track of the Day
Wednesday, September 28 2011
Unbelievably, it's Epica again! Just shows that these picks really are random! Monday we had a track from their album “The road to Paradiso”, but today it's again from the album which heralded the first Random Track of the Day, back in August, “The divine conspiracy”. Guess you just can't keep a good band down!

Indigo (prologue) --- Epica --- from "The divine conspiracy" on Nuclear Blast


It's subtitled “Prologue”, and such it is, and therefore not too long, at just over two minutes. It's an instrumental, very dramatic, orchestral and film-score-sounding, with nice choral vocals to presumably lead into the track “The obessesive devotion”, which is over seven minutes long.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:00 AM   #307 (permalink)
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NOW that's what I call music!
(Volume III)


Feel like throwing together another non-linked series of some music I enjoy listening to, so here we go!

I like Fleetwood Mac songs best when Stevie's singin' 'em. This is from their last album, “Say you will”, and a great little track called “Running through the garden.”


I feel this gets across the true, doomy nature of early Sabs, and indeed showcases Ozzy at his very best, it's the song that takes their name, from the album that, eh, also takes their name. Yeah, it's “Black Sabbath”!


One of my favourite tracks from the Jadis album “Fanatic”, this is “What kind of reason”.


I went through a Jennifer Rush phase in the eighties, and bought all her albums, but the only one that really blew me away was “Heart over mind”, with hardly a single bad track. This is from that album, and it's “Down to you”.


The first It Bites track I ever heard, and I knew it was going to be huge (it was)! Unfortunately the album was less inspiring, but this is the hit single that put them on the map, “Calling all the heroes”.


A lot of what John Cougar Mellencamp does passes me by, but I do like this one, “Pink houses”.


Another great American singer/songwriter with another great track, the acerbic “For America”.


Who remembers Foreigner before they became forever inextricably linked with that damn song? This is “Urgent”, from the excellent “4” album.


And a great rocker from the album “Into the fire”, it's Bryan Adams with “Only the strong survive”.


And let's finish up with a real cracker. I'm not crazy about Evanescence, but I do love this one! “Bring me to life”.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:01 AM   #308 (permalink)
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Anyone remember Squeeze? The worm does, and loves this classic hit of theirs from the late seventies, although much of the slang used in the lyric would be incomprehensible to today's generation, innit?
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:19 PM   #309 (permalink)
 
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I used to love that song actually. I used to hear it on the radio sometimes when I was a bit younger and the lyrics really fascinated me, I sometimes wondered what the hell he was actually singing about. It's still a good fun song though.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:13 AM   #310 (permalink)
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Anyone remember Squeeze? The worm does, and loves this classic hit of theirs from the late seventies, although much of the slang used in the lyric would be incomprehensible to today's generation, innit?
Cool for Cats is truly quite epic.
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