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Old 10-06-2011, 11:22 AM   #341 (permalink)
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Starting off a new section this month, featuring music from the fairer sex, and being Seventies Week, what else would we concentrate on but women who had hits in that decade?
To start off, here's one of the biggest of the big, Diana Ross with the theme from the film “Mahogany”, from 1975, “Do you know where you're going to?” Pure motown class.


Now for one of the premier ladies of country, it's Crystal Gayle and a huge hit for her in 1977, “Don't it make my brown eyes blue”.


From country to disco, for one of THE divas of the seventies, this is Donna Summer, with a huge pop hit that crossed over into electronica territory, the fabulous “I feel love”.


Not forgetting Debbie Harry, an upcoming feature in our “Gone solo in the game” slot soon, here she is with her band Blondie, and one of their biggest hits, “Heart of glass”.


And let's finish up with my all-time favourite crush of my teenage years, the sexy Suzi Quatro with one of her heavier hits, this is “Devil gate drive”.


That's it for now: watch for more from the ladies soon!
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:23 PM   #342 (permalink)
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Harvest --- Neil Young --- 1972 (Reprise)


One of the defining albums of Neil Young's early career, “Harvest” was his first solo album after leaving Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and provided him with his first number one hit single, and international fame and recognition outside of CSNY. A very country-tinged album, it features guest appearances from such luminaries as James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and the other three from CSNY. Apparently its instant and worldwide success so shocked Young that he made a conscious effort after this not to repeat its style, going more out on the fringes where he was most comfortable.

The album opens with “Out on the weekend”, a mid-paced country tune with lots of harmonica, pedal steel and acoustic guitar. It's fairly understated, a little introspective, and a slow opener that seems to be to kind of wander around for four and half minutes without any real idea where it's going. The title track is more guitar based, but slower paced, with again pedal steel making its presence felt. Young's voice is throughout clear and distinct, mostly sounding a little mournful or depressed, perhaps due to the acrimonious split with CSNY. The record is certainly very country, a subtle change in direction from the traditional folk approach of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

“A man needs a maid” starts off very quietly, Young's singing a little hard to even discern, the instruments even lower in the mix. The addition of the London Symphony Orchestra turns out to be a masterstroke though, as their full-blooded rendition of the music expands the song and makes it much more powerful and accessible. It's a ballad, but with the help of the LSO it turns out to be quite a powerful one. His big hit single is next: “Heart of gold” took him to the top of the charts in 1972, and is an acoustic song with a somewhat staccato format, a song of longing for the perfect love, helped along by some very effective harmonica. Neil is at his clearest and most passionate singing on this track, with backing vocals from Taylor and Ronstadt, which no doubt helped in its success as a single.

Things get faster and more upbeat then for “Are you ready for the country?”, which is piano led, and just a fun song, kind of reminds me of Dan Fogelberg's early work, like “Home free” (which, coicidentally, was released the same year). Lines like ”I was talking to the preacher/ He said God is on your side/ Then I ran into the hangman/ He said 'It's time to die'” give a sometimes rare insight into Young's acerbic sense of humour, and everyone just sounds like they're enjoying themselves on this track, a somewhat welcome break from the morose nature of what has gone before.

“Old man” however takes us back into the realms of the dour and the melancholy with another sharp semi-ballad, while “There's a world” opens with dramatic film soundtrack overture, big booming drums and bells, the London Symphony Orchestra making a reappearance, but then the track turns into a pastoral ballad, and ends up alternating between the two styles. “Alabama” is the first time you properly hear electric guitar, a track with the hardest edge on the album so far. It also again features Neil singing more passionately and strongly as he does on “Heart of gold”, so that you don't have to strain to hear him, as on so many of the other songs. It's certainly the track that comes closest to breaking out of the country mould and into the world of rock.

Back to acoustic then for “The needle and the damage done”, a song about heroin addiction which has become one of Young's signature songs. There's a definite sense of frustration and helplessness in the song, and it's the shortest on the album, at just over two minutes long. If “Alabama” is the rock song on “Harvest”, then “The needle...” is the folk one.

The album closes on a big bluesy jam, “Words (Between the lines of age)” with the re-emergence of the pedal steel guitar and powerful backing vocals from Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and the remaining members of CSNY. The final song becomes something of a masterclass in guitar from Young, with a lengthy solo to bring the song to its end, and indeed, the album to a close.

I think Neil Young is something of an acquired taste. I don't claim to be a fan, though I do like some of his work, and this is in fact my first listen to this album. While I can see how it went down so well in 1972, I probably would not have rushed out and bought it when I was young (sorry!), being more into metal and rock at that age. But for Neil Young fans there's no doubt this album stands as one of his most respected and successful, an album that put him on the map and began a long and rewarding career for him.

TRACKLISTING

1. Out on the weekend
2. Harvest
3. A man needs a maid
4. Heart of gold
5. Are you ready for the country?
6. Old man
7. There's a world
8. Alabama
9. The needle and the damage done
10. Words (Between the lines of age)
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:31 PM   #343 (permalink)
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Random Track of the Day
Thursday, October 6 2011
Personally, I always found Dido to be a real moany little cow, but that's just me. I did buy the album, and liked one or two tracks on it, but so many of them came across as moody and sullen to me, I don't play it anymore. Which is my roundabout way of telling you that today's Random Track of the Day comes from her, and is in fact her big hit from that album.

Thank you --- Dido --- from "No angel" on Arista
A huge hit for her, and later popularised further by Eminem and Elton John, “Thank you” is one of the better tracks on the album, but then like so many songs that become famous, it was overplayed on the radio till I was just sick of it. However, the random-o-meter doesn't care how I feel, so here it is...

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Old 10-06-2011, 05:21 PM   #344 (permalink)
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Default Coming soon: from the deranged mind of Trollheart....




Evenin' all. This is Inspector Quaver, of the Yard, and I require your h'assistance. We all know, I am sure, of your normal crimes --- your robberies, your murders, your fraud --- all serious crimes, and all quite properly tackled, dealt with and prosecuted. But there is, I am sorry to say, h'another, less well publicised but no less 'enious crime, which up until now 'as been let run rampant. Myself and my colleague, Sergeant Crotchet, 'ere --- “Evenin'” --- are part of a new task force what has been set up to h'investigate, pursue and prosecute those crimes we 'ear little of in the daily newspapers, on the news or on the h'internet. Yes, I am afraid I am talking about crimes h'against music.

For years now, decades h'even, these dastardly criminals 'ave been gettin' away with it, recording the most awful, cringeworthy, pointless music AND makin' a packet out of their nefarious work, to boot! Well, this is where it stops. We --- Sergeant Crotchet and I --- are the “thin blue line” what is going to make sure these people pay for their crimes.

H'obviously, I am not at liberty to reveal any of the h'identities of the villains in question, as we are in the middle of several h'elaborate stings to try and catch them, h'entice them out of 'iding, where many of them 'ave been for over thirty or forty years, thinkin' they're safe. Well, not no more they isn't! But careless talk costs lives, as they say, so until we 'ave completed our h'operations, mum's the word, eh? (Course, were I to mention a certain type of bird, countless Christmas parties, and were Sgt. Crotchet to dance in a particular way --- come on, Sergeant, it's nothing to be ashamed of --- well, I think you can draw your own conclusions as to the sort of sick people we are talkin' about, without me givin' the game away, eh? Word to the wise...)

We aim to track these people down, bring them to court an' make sure that, through careful and proper legal channels, they is incarcerated for their crimes, of what they have got away with for so long till now: you can see, to my left (your right) that we have a cell all ready an' waitin' for them to be detained at 'er Majesty's Pleasure. We just needs to build our case, and set our trap, which is what we're in the process of doin' right now.

Of course, we are always anxious to have 'elp from members of the public in our h'endeavours, so although we 'ave a list as long as the long arm of the law (little police humour there, ho ho!), we can't be sure we know every criminal out there. There may be crimes wot 'ave been goin' on without our knowledge, but which you as a member of the law-h'abidin' public knows about, and in that case we would be most h'eager to talk to you. So if you 'ave any h'information, please do drop in to our local nick to talk to myself or Sgt. Crotchet, or leave a comment, I believe is the proper parlance these days, h'advisin' us of the perp and any h'information you may 'ave on 'im, 'er or indeed them. Who are they? When was the crime perpetrated? What tipped you off? 'Ow long 'as the criminal been on the run? Where was 'e seen last? Any details you can provide will be h'invaluable in 'elping us catch, try and h'imprison the rogue, so that they are taken off the streets.

We 'ave a dream. A dream where people --- decent, h'ordinary people --- can in the future turn on their radio or television or --- what, Sergeant? The inter-what? Oh, yes --- go on the h'internet in the knowledge that they will not h'encounter such gross travesties of music h'ever again. And I must warn anybody out there contemplating committing such a crime: we will bring you to justice!

Thank you for your time. This 'as been an h'official appeal on behalf of the new Serious Crimes Against Music task force, or SCAM. We look forward to h'updatin' you on our progress in the near future, and meanwhile any h'information you 'ave will be most 'elpful. Once h'again, thank you and remember, CRIME DOES NOT PAY!
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:06 PM   #345 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Random Track of the Day
Thursday, October 6 2011
Personally, I always found Dido to be a real moany little cow, but that's just me. I did buy the album, and liked one or two tracks on it, but so many of them came across as moody and sullen to me, I don't play it anymore. Which is my roundabout way of telling you that today's Random Track of the Day comes from her, and is in fact her big hit from that album.

Thank you --- Dido --- from "No angel" on Arista
A huge hit for her, and later popularised further by Eminem and Elton John, “Thank you” is one of the better tracks on the album, but then like so many songs that become famous, it was overplayed on the radio till I was just sick of it. However, the random-o-meter doesn't care how I feel, so here it is...

This album became one of those 'must have' albums for people who didn't really listen to music but wanted to own a popular album at the time. Commonly classed as coffee table music like Sade's Diamond Life in the 80's and Moby's Play in the 90's this was everywhere in 2000 and it's a real shame that it has it's detractors.

It is certainly understandable as there is some absolute pap on the album but when her brother Rollo (Faithless) gets involved and introduces Electronica then it really does go up a notch and there are some standout tracks on the album:




are all really good tracks in my eyes and wouldn't be out of place on an ambient Trip Hop album but she never capitalised on this sound and continued to give us the moody and sullen sound that you mentioned.

Her last album found it's way into the ubiquitous poundland which is never a good sign but I will listen to anything for a pound so gave it a go. I could not find one single redeeming thing about the album. It was bland insipid crap on the highest level. Shame as I like a lot of her lyrics and I find her quite attractive too (not that this a reason to like an artist) but there is absolutely no progression in her music at all.

The only decent stuff she does these days is her continuing work with the aforementioned Faithless:
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:36 AM   #346 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post



Evenin' all. This is Inspector Quaver, of the Yard, and I require your h'assistance. We all know, I am sure, of your normal crimes --- your robberies, your murders, your fraud --- all serious crimes, and all quite properly tackled, dealt with and prosecuted. But there is, I am sorry to say, h'another, less well publicised but no less 'enious crime, which up until now 'as been let run rampant. Myself and my colleague, Sergeant Crotchet, 'ere --- “Evenin'” --- are part of a new task force what has been set up to h'investigate, pursue and prosecute those crimes we 'ear little of in the daily newspapers, on the news or on the h'internet. Yes, I am afraid I am talking about crimes h'against music.

For years now, decades h'even, these dastardly criminals 'ave been gettin' away with it, recording the most awful, cringeworthy, pointless music AND makin' a packet out of their nefarious work, to boot! Well, this is where it stops. We --- Sergeant Crotchet and I --- are the “thin blue line” what is going to make sure these people pay for their crimes.

H'obviously, I am not at liberty to reveal any of the h'identities of the villains in question, as we are in the middle of several h'elaborate stings to try and catch them, h'entice them out of 'iding, where many of them 'ave been for over thirty or forty years, thinkin' they're safe. Well, not no more they isn't! But careless talk costs lives, as they say, so until we 'ave completed our h'operations, mum's the word, eh? (Course, were I to mention a certain type of bird, countless Christmas parties, and were Sgt. Crotchet to dance in a particular way --- come on, Sergeant, it's nothing to be ashamed of --- well, I think you can draw your own conclusions as to the sort of sick people we are talkin' about, without me givin' the game away, eh? Word to the wise...)

We aim to track these people down, bring them to court an' make sure that, through careful and proper legal channels, they is incarcerated for their crimes, of what they have got away with for so long till now: you can see, to my left (your right) that we have a cell all ready an' waitin' for them to be detained at 'er Majesty's Pleasure. We just needs to build our case, and set our trap, which is what we're in the process of doin' right now.

Of course, we are always anxious to have 'elp from members of the public in our h'endeavours, so although we 'ave a list as long as the long arm of the law (little police humour there, ho ho!), we can't be sure we know every criminal out there. There may be crimes wot 'ave been goin' on without our knowledge, but which you as a member of the law-h'abidin' public knows about, and in that case we would be most h'eager to talk to you. So if you 'ave any h'information, please do drop in to our local nick to talk to myself or Sgt. Crotchet, or leave a comment, I believe is the proper parlance these days, h'advisin' us of the perp and any h'information you may 'ave on 'im, 'er or indeed them. Who are they? When was the crime perpetrated? What tipped you off? 'Ow long 'as the criminal been on the run? Where was 'e seen last? Any details you can provide will be h'invaluable in 'elping us catch, try and h'imprison the rogue, so that they are taken off the streets.

We 'ave a dream. A dream where people --- decent, h'ordinary people --- can in the future turn on their radio or television or --- what, Sergeant? The inter-what? Oh, yes --- go on the h'internet in the knowledge that they will not h'encounter such gross travesties of music h'ever again. And I must warn anybody out there contemplating committing such a crime: we will bring you to justice!

Thank you for your time. This 'as been an h'official appeal on behalf of the new Serious Crimes Against Music task force, or SCAM. We look forward to h'updatin' you on our progress in the near future, and meanwhile any h'information you 'ave will be most 'elpful. Once h'again, thank you and remember, CRIME DOES NOT PAY!
Haha, this is brilliant. Justin Bieber sentenced for life? No chance of parole?
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:04 AM   #347 (permalink)
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Yeah, I think it may have been a case of "too much too soon", as the Specials (was it?) said it. She got famous off the back of that track and people as you say kind of saw the bandwagon come and leaped aboard, then realised it was going the wrong way, but couldn't or didn't want to get off. They'd paid their fare, so would complete the journey.

Similar to how, as I mentioned previously, the "beautiful people" latched on to The The's "Infected" and made it cool --- which it is, a fantastic, fantastic album --- for a short while, till they got bored and moved on. Of course, in that case, "Infected" remains as a classic album: didn't need the stamp of approval of the glitterati to make it so, but in my opinion it suffered a little by having its star hitched, as it were, to that caravan.

The only real track on "No angel" that I love and play often is "Take my hand" --- I love that. Is Faithless involved in that? Sounds quite electronica...
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:27 AM   #348 (permalink)
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Stranger in town --- Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band --- 1978 (Capitol)


I've been a big Bob Seger fan since I heard “Night moves” and “Hollywood nights”, and have bought all his albums (apart from the really old ones, like the ones with the Bob Seger System) to date. At the moment, I feel he's in danger of losing his way, as his last two, “It's a mystery” and “Face the promise” have done little to fire me up: in fact, the last good album from him I recall was 1991's “The fire inside”, and with four years between that and “It's a mystery”, and eleven between it and his current, “Face the promise”, I would have expected better. But all of that is a conversation --- or indeed, review --- for another day.

“Stranger in town” comes from the peak of Seger's commercial appeal, and the zenith of his creative period. With albums like “Against the wind”, “The distance” and “Like a rock” to follow, there was, almost quite literally, no stopping Bob Seger. Two years prior to this he had released his first really commercially successful album, 1976's “Night moves”, which provided him with three hit singles, and one smash, with the title track. This, the follow up, spawned another four hits, and although “Still the same” reached number 4, it is rather oddly perhaps the less commercially successful (number 13) ballad “We've got tonight” which made the biggest and most lasting impression on the public, perhaps in part due to the cover some years later by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton.

This is his ninth album, but only his second with the Silver Bullet Band, who would become to him what the E Street Band are to Bruce Springsteen. The album kicks off with the rollicking, galloping “Hollywood nights”, the tale of love and fame found and lost in Tinseltown. It rocks along at a great pace, with Seger in full voice, and excellent backing vocals. Mainly piano-driven, as many of Seger's songs are, it's complicated by great, but relatively sparse, guitar from Drew Abbot, but the thing that really drives the song is the steam-train drumming of David Teegarden, which just trundles the whole thing along like some unstoppable behemoth. As opening tracks go, it's right up there with the best.

“Still the same”, by contrast, is a low-key acoustic number, concerned with gambling addiction as Seger sings ”A gambler's stake/ The only risk that you would take/ The only bluff you couldn't fake”. The piano again plays its part on this track, but the guitar takes a much more active role. It's not a ballad, but has a very definite country flavour to it. It's one of the songs that has stood the test of time, and was, as already mentioned, the highest-charting single released from the album. Like most Seger songs, it has a very catchy melody, and the backing vocals do a lot to make the song. It's followed by a track which gained fame when it was included in the soundtrack to the movie “Risky business”, and has since become something of a standard. “Old time rock and roll” is a boppy, upbeat and nostalgic look back at the rock music of yesteryear, indeed beginning with a Jerry Lee Lewis-like piano run, courtesyt of Robyn Robbins. It's a real “take me as I am” song, in which Bob declares with feeling ”Today's music ain't got the same soul/ I like that old time rock and roll!” Great sax from the very appropriately named Alto Reed --- I swear: I don't make these names up! --- and a great “handclap” pause near the end which no doubt exorts the audience to join in when Bob plays live. Just great fun, rockers enjoying doing what rockers do.

Another semi-ballad next, in “Till it shines”, again guitar led, and with some great lines: ”Storm the walls around this prison/ Leave the inmates, free the guards!” This album features guest appearances from two of the Eagles, and it's Glenn Frey who contributes a great little guitar solo here, while Don Felder makes his presence felt later on. Next up is a fast rocker, another favourite live, where Bob puts a voice to the frustration of depersonalisation as he sings “Feel like a number”, the whole band jammin' away and having a great time. ”I work my back till it's wracked with pain” he moans ”Boss can't even recall my name!” and putting his finger firmly on the problems with society, back then and now, he laments ”To teachers I'm just another child/ To IRS I'm another file!” A real song of feeling helpless and nameless, but played with power and passion as Bob strikes back: ”Gonna cruise out of this city/ Head down to the sea/ Shout out at the ocean/ 'Hey! It's me!'”

The only cover on the album, Frankie Miller's “Ain't got no money” is a low-down and dirty rocker, with a really great guitar solo from, as mentioned, ex-Eagle Don Felder. Another song that's just pure rock and roll fun. Then we're into the standout, the tender ballad “We've got tonight”, which remains one of Seger's best ever songs, and one of his best known and loved. It's a real song of two strangers (in town?) finding themselves thrown together unexpectedly, both lonely, and thinking about getting together. Could be seen as a one-night-stand song, but the way Seger writes the lyric, it's tender, touching and powerful: ”I know it's late, I know you're weary/ I know your plans don't include me/ Still here we are/ Both of us lonely...” Beautiful piano and again sumptuous backing vocals.

“Brave strangers” is something of a retread of “Night moves”, though faster, as Bob recalls his youth (as again he would on the title track to 1986's “Like a rock”) and his conquests. It's a mid-paced, unapologetically raunchy song of two lovers trying to find their way in the world, and finding comfort in each other's arms, but knowing there's no fairytale ending: they're not going to end up together, as Bob acknowledges: ”So we walked out, hardly speakin'/ Disappearin' in the night/ Saw each other a few times later/ But we never really got it right.” Great bluesy sax halfway through, as the song slows down for the “love scene”, then everything speeds up again for the awkward goodbye. Perfectly observed: the act of making love set to music.

The album closes on a powerful and evocative ballad, the superlative “Famous final scene”. Seger has made something of a habit of ending his albums with ballads, and it's a good thing, as you're left humming a really good song, more often than not, at the end. “The famous final scene” is no exception, with great opening piano and guitar, a longing for things lost, chances missed and hearts broken, as he sings “Everything must have an end/ Like an ocean to a shore/ Like a river to a stream.” Robbins' piano gets very intense and dramatic during this song, as if he's putting his whole heart and soul into the performance.

This is a Bob Seger album with few, if any, bad tracks. I had my doubts about “Night moves”, and even “Against the wind”, his next after this, had one or two duff ones, but to my mind, 1978's “Stranger in town” stands as one of Seger's finest, most complete and almost totally flawless albums, certainly deserving of its six-times multi-platinum certification, and its place among the hearts of Seger fans and lovers of good rock music.

TRACKLISTING

1. Hollywood nights
2. Still the same
3. Old time rock and roll
4. Till it shines
5. Feel like a number
6. Ain't got no money
7. We've got tonight
8. Brave strangers
9. The famous final scene

Suggested further listening: "Night moves”, “Against the wind”, “The distance”, “Like a rock”, “The fire inside”, “Nine tonight” (live double)
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:51 AM   #349 (permalink)
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Random Track of the Day
Friday, October 7 2011
Music from one of the weirdest of the weird, this is a track taken from an album which was in fact the soundtrack to a movie about human biology, called “The Body”. It's composed by Ron Geesin and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, and it's just, well, weird! Each part or function of the body is set to music, so you can expect some pretty rude sounds in there! This is from near the end of the album, and it concerns the throat.

Mrs. Throat goes walking --- Roger Waters and Ron Geesin --- from "Music from The Body" on EMI


The best I can describe this short piece as is a jazzy/funky tune with mostly bass, and a sort of scat-singing which I expect is the eponymous wife of Mister Throat. Hey, it's weird, it's random, it's Friday --- whaddya want from me?
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:58 AM   #350 (permalink)
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Ah, Slade! The single biggest reason for the decline of the quality of spelling in Britain, years before the introduction of text messaging! They had a slew of hit singles in the seventies, and many number ones, and this is one of them: “Cum on feel the noize”. 'ere, that Noddy 'Older don't arf know how to yell, does 'e?
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