Monthly Archives: January 2013

Robert Johnson – The Photos

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Robert Johnson 2

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Robert Johnson…a myth, a legend, a controversy…42 recordings…three known photographs…member of the 27 club…

Song for the Rough Week Ahead…Bob Mould-The Descent

Song for the Rough Week Ahead…

Neil Young and the elusive Ragged Glory vinyl

Neil-Young-Ragged-Glory-159441-991If you read this blog and my inane dribbles it is no secret that I am a Neil Young and vinyl fan. If you combine those two obsessions you can understand my search for an album that has eluded me for some time, the Ragged Glory album by Neil and Crazy Horse.

Ragged Glory was the first Neil Young album I bought on CD, never owned the vinyl. Vinyl records were old hat. Big heavy dinosaurs of the time before compact discs. They were space wasting, easy to scratch, always noisy no matter how much care you gave them, I viewed them as relics from an old age. CDs were small (hence the word ‘compact’), no ‘pops and clicks’, easy to take on a trip and you could ‘program’ out songs you didn’t want to hear…a monster was born.

I sold or gave away my record collection, something I still feel shame and deep regret about…I drank the grape Kool-Aid.

After many years of having all the music I wanted, getting any song or album with a couple of clicks of the mouse, I noticed a change in the way I viewed music. Music was this ‘thing’ that I stored on my computer…this thing that was easy to get…and if I didn’t like the sound of it within 40 seconds I ‘clicked’ on something else. It took very little effort to listen to music and music just became background noise to fill up my silence. Then, almost by accident,  I rekindled my love affair with the old fashion vinyl record.

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I had forgotten the joy of the hunt. Going into a record store and just digging. Looking for something to listen to. I started hitting up local record stores and going to yard sales. You know what happened? I started meeting a new group of like minded people, I got to know my local store owners and I made a couple of new friends. They gave me some suggestions on what they thought I might like. I discovered more music that appealed to me.

I rediscovered listening to music. Really listening to music…reading the liner notes, studying the album artwork, following along with the lyric sheet, listening to an album in one sitting and in the order the artist intended.

And folks it just sounds better.

That was one I always scoffed at…but even with my old ears I can tell the difference. Vinyl has a fuller, richer and more vivid range. Which brings me back to our topic.

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The album Ragged Glory is one of my favorite Neil Young and Crazy Horse albums. It is always in rotation on my iPod. Great songs, great guitars, great sound…I would turn to this album and turn it up when I needed a pick-me-up or if I was already in a good mood this would just enhance the exhilaration. There is just something special about that set of songs to me.

It was released in September of 1990. It was a time that they just didn’t make that many vinyl records, everything was compact discs and vinyl was being phased out. So when I started building up my Neil Young vinyl collection it was hard for me to track down…at a reasonable price. I had record guys looking for me. I got told stories of having seen a copy at the local Goodwill or that so-and-so has two copies just ask him to sell you one. Even on-line they were never in my price range.

Until two weeks ago. It showed up on eBay…an auction…starting bid of one dollar. I watched it all week long. After a couple of days it went up to sixteen dollars and just sat there. I watched and waited. I waited until ten seconds left on the auction and I bid twenty-six dollars and one cent. I got the record for twenty-two bucks.

My mailman brought it to me yesterday and it is a glorious thing. Buying records, especially used, on-line can be a little iffy, but the record is in great condition with very little surface noise. I played it this afternoon and even though they crammed so much music on this single disc (64 minutes) the sound is so warm, it was as if the Horse was playing in my bedroom.

I can now cross it off my list….now to find Mirror Ball.

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Song For The Rough Week Ahead…

Here are The Who looking dapper with their 80’s haircuts. Video is from a concert, that I attended, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas 1982.  Pete and Roger gave me some fond memories of that weekend…

Song For the Rough Week Ahead…

The Swans – No Words No Thoughts from their album The Seer.

 

Video: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – We Know Who UR

New Album, PUSH THE SKY AWAY,  out on February 19th.

Best Albums of 2012

2012 is not going be remembered as a very good year by me. Too much stuff happened in my personal life that will forever leave a bad taste in my mouth. 2012 will forever be thought of as the year I lost my piece of the American Dream…the year that cemented the fact that the banking corporations will lie to your face and there is nothing that a normal citizen can do about it…the year that I heard a horrific story from a person I have known for 20 years, a tale that blew my mind in certain aspects and reaffirm my dwindling hope for mankind…the year that the word ‘cancer’ hurt people close to me.

In summation, 2012 sucked balls.

Although some good music was released in 2012 and I have put together a list of my favorite albums of the year. What ended up on my list are the albums that I found most compelling. For example, Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen didn’t make my list. It is a good album, but to me it was nothing earth shaking. I am not implying that everything on my ‘best of’ list is earth shaking, but the music that made my list did resonate deeply to me…and after all it is my list.

So here is the list of my favorite albums of the year 2012…

Bish Bosch_015 – Bish Bosch by Scott Walker This album is one difficult listen. Strangely rewarding after a few spins, but you have to be in the proper mood. It is not mindless, good time music…with its weird instrumentation and even weirder lyrics this is as close to anti-music as it comes.

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lambchop-mr-m14 – Lambchop – Mr. M Hailing from Nashville Lambchop sounds more like 70’s lounge music than Hank Williams. Mr. M is the band’s (or musical collective) 11th album. This quiet, subtle music grows on me with every listen.

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aluk tolodo13 – Aluk Todolo – Occult Rock An album of all instrumental music from three French veterans of black metal music…hell yeah. This album is a hybrid form of progressive Krautrock and black metal..and it is good stuff.

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Sinéad_O'Connor_-_How_About_I_Be_Me_(And_You_Be_You)12 – Sinead O’Connor – How About I Be Me (And You Be You) Music is sadly probably not the first thought that enters your mind when you think of Sinead. She might be bat-shit crazy, but this album is her best since her debut. Total overlooked…and that is a shame.

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Dinosaur-Jr-I-Bet-On-Sky11 – Dinosaur Jr – I Bet On The Sky Guitars, great melodies, quirky vocals and more guitars…just another classic from J, Lou and Murph. Since getting back together they have released three strong albums in a row.

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cobra-juicy-590px10 – Black Moth Super Rainbow – Super Juicy The most accessible, poppy music from this electronic/psychedelic Pittsburgh band. That might not be saying much as they are still way left of center, but this is a good album to give them a spin.

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david-byrne-st-vincent-love-this-giant09 – David Byrne and Saint Vincent – Love This Giant Good fun with a brass band and off-beat rhythms…quirky excellent music. The lead song on the album,WHO, would be my song of the year.

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bobmouldsilverage-e133899927890208 – Bob Mould – Silver Age A return to the ‘peal the paint off the wall’ guitar sound of the Sugar/Husker Du days. This album could be released under the band name Sugar and no one would bat an eye. A rocking album that still lives on my turntable.

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Father-John-Misty-Fear-Fun07 – Father John Misty – Fear Fun Josh Tillman under the alias Father John Misty has released one hell of a great folk-rock record. This thing gets better and better with each listen. You can feel the ghost of 70’s Laurel Canyon coming out the speakers.

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gsybe06 – Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allejuah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! Utter mind-trip, apocalyptic music that will have you in a trance. Hypnotic rock chamber music. Four songs…two of them twenty minute build-ups.

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psychedelic pill05- Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill This album is just like any other Neil Young album, it swings from sublime to mediocre. I love the opening 30 minute track musically…lyrical, not so much. But with the inclusion of the strong tracks (Walk Like A Giant and Ramada Inn) they out weigh the ‘fair to midland’ rest of the album.

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JACK-WHITE-BLUNDERBUSS-468x46004 – Jack White – Blunderbuss The former White Stripes leader has put together an infectious group of well recorded songs. It has the loose warm sound of a group of people excited to play music. My vote for best production on an album this year…it just sounds so warm.

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swans-the-seer03 – Swans – The Seer Think of this album as a ride down the river of madness…and that is a good thing. This almost two hour long double LP is brutal and beautiful, sometimes in the same song. You can get lost in this album. I prefer the digital files instead of the vinyl…in order to keep the track order some of the longer songs are split over two sides and it breaks up the flow of the music. Light a few candles, put on the headphones and listen…listen hard.

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COLUMBIA RECORDS BOB DYLAN ALBUM02 – Bob Dylan – Tempest This album just gets darker and darker as the tracks go by. Perfectly suited to Dylan’s gravelly vocals that can go from a jest to murder in a New York minute. Would have been my album of the year if not for the last song, Roll On, John…I just hate that song.

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goat-world-music01 – Goat – World Music What do you get if you take equal parts Black Sabbath, Can, Fela Kuti and Funkadelic? Great music…search this one out. My favorite album from a shitty year.

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