Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

Brilliant, great, wonderful, lovely in every way. What a special album, one that is good from start to finish. There's an intricate sound to it. Some of the guitars sound very live, like a friend sitting casually strumming an electric guitar. That's a cool touch of informality. The rest of the sound, from a very subtle violin, whistling, an occasional female voice, drums, some thick stuff in there as well, along with Andrew Bird's beautiful voice is amazing.

And once you've heard the songs a couple times, some of the tunes are in your mind and you feel like you've known them forever. Speaking for myself, that is. The song titles are interesting, too, like the album's name, "Armchair Apocrypha." Titles like Imitosis, Plasticities, Heretics, Darkmatter, Scythian Empires... Some mystery in all that, but "Armchair" definitely sounds like a way to make the mystery more accessible.

There's also a lot going on in the background. The songs are layered and with some complexity, even with quickly picked up melodies and choruses. If you listen with earbuds, it's a rewarding experience. I haven't actually heard it any other way yet, but I really like the detail this way. I've heard the album four or five times, and love it.

Highly recommended.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Elliott Yamin, His First Album

Elliott Yamin - Elliott Yamin

I'm glad Elliott's out there with a career, an album, his own niche. He was a great guy on American Idol, sort of shy, with various rough spots in his life and health, and blessed with a very nice mother. I liked seeing them in the parade on one of the episodes, getting the happiness of their hometown friends.

Throughout the album, Elliott's voice is nice and smooth; he could endorse throat lozenges, and it's nice to hear. This is a good album that could be better. But if you put it on and read, sewed, worked on scrapbooking, looked at photo albums, you would find it very pleasant.

The songs are of a older, laid-back style, with several modern nods. One of the tracks, "Wait For You," brings Chris Brown to mind. There are some jazzy moments, like "Movin' On" right at the start of the album. There's one track, "Find A Way," that comments on social issues, but with so much middle-of-the-road idealism that it wouldn't be disagreeable to normal people.

Elliott's voice is in fine form throughout. He can sing and has that beautiful smoothness. Also, he sings with great conviction, even when the relationship songs he's singing don't rise far above the generic variety. They're pleasing in tone, in tune, they just don't go very far in saying much.

"Free" has some very pretty background work, and Elliott sounds great in the mix. "Tell me what you're hiding from ... hold fast to your dreams ... don't be afraid to fly, alone in the sky. When you do then you'll be free ... nothing is impossible ... you will achieve the unexplainable ... I believe that miracles happen..." I really like this song, it's very nice, one of my faves. But then "Alright" is not a favorite with its disco feel. The disco effects seem foreign to the album's overall feel.

Then "Take My Breath Away." I really don't want a song that brings Rex Smith's "You Take My Breath Away" to mind. It's a song to "Girl, when you do what you do to me..." One of those. "You take my breath away." The song is probably OK, from a reputable songwriting mill somewhere (not breeding mongrels and open for inspection), but it gets my low moment vote.

The album ends with "A Song For You," which he sang on the show, one of the connections to Donny Hathaway that he made on the show. It sounds great, very familiar and nice, with just Elliott and the piano.

This is a good album, a good start for Elliott. Any true fan will love it, hope for his success, and, as they say on American Idol, hope he raises the bar next time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Ponys - Turn The Lights Out

The Ponys - Turn The Lights Out. A good album. Good for just listening, walking, running, reading. Very basic rock sound with a live feel. Excellent guitar sounds. Vocals are low-key and good. Nothing real demanding about it, which might sound like a bad comment but I mean it in the best way. One time through and it's like a comfortable couch. Some of the songs should be longer.

1) Double Vision - (3:37) Exciting group sound, very nice left/right listening, thick, textured, immediately appealing sound. The bass is sneaking around, making itself known here and there. Very thick sound and nice.

2) Everyday Weapon - (2:20) Opens with feedback, then full blast. Guitar isn't clear but with distortion, like in the first track. "They'll take the skin right off our bones," the vocals are more excited in this one. Lead guitar gets up there and has some nice swirling effects melting it away. The instruments are great. That is a short song.

3) Small Talk - (4:13) Exact same sound to get it started, insistent drum. Verse is tuneful, with vocal echoes. Wow, cool guitar, more swirling, like rolled barbed wire, but short. I really like that stuff, and here it comes again, wowwwing, and now a solo off the melody. Musical bit in the middle is nicely extended. The guitar is almost droning, a single note vibrating. Then a sweet acidic guitar conversation, like guitars conquering the world, lovely song all the way.

4) Turn the Lights Out - (2:36) Starts off very laid-back, appealing vocal with lethargic, "Pull the covers over me." Perfect sounds of the instruments. Vocals and sound gets more demanding and louder, and it goes back and forth. The guitar meandering around is comforting to hear, it sounds so real, an integral part of what's going on. Speaking of family and friends, turning the lights out on you tonight. Great one. Title track.

5) 1209 Seminary - (3:06) "I sit and watch the chill of the city, how your children grow." The music and vocals are stunning, impressive. The album has a real live group sound to it. The vocals are restrained, not dominating. The guitar solos are all very pleasant without being 100% predictable. The title sounds like the address of a place.

6) Shine - (4:21) Opens with single guitar, then some high acid notes from another. The vocals are again not at the very top. The singing is psychedelic, trippy. The music also has a hazy, drifting sound. Some extended notes. Guitar solo is actually more conventional on this one, but with some additional thickness and interplay. There are some strong chords being worked on, with the same notes hit many times, getting higher. Trippy, excellent track.

7) Kingdom of Hearts - (2:03) This song is like the others in many ways, the same vibe between them. This one also has a certain trippiness, especially in the vocals, with the guitars going like that, getting stronger in it all the time, then a hugely pretty middle instrumental section. Too short a song.

8) Poser Psychotic - (3:44) A feel to the song to match the title. The singing is half buried in the instruments. The fuzzy guitars have center stage and they go nice places. The singing is very appealing, understated and integral, poetic feel. This is a hard rock sound that also is mellow.

9) Exile On My Street - (2:20) Melodic guitar opening, about 40 seconds. Vocals are a lot more in your face on this one, but short bursts only, then back to the guitar melody. Short song, 2:20. Vocals go back to half buried toward the end.

10) Harakiri - (3:28) Distorted sound right at the beginning, tough bass and drums, half buried cranked up guitar on right side. Very cool instrumental effects and vocal. Appealing song, psychedelic guitar solo. Distortion used to good effect.

11) Maybe I'll Try - (2:56) Vocals on top of you, alternating wavering notes to the music, and single drum hits. Then they launch into the whole thing. I think he said, "Maybe I'll try to feel again when I'm dead." The songs are very accessible the first time. Funny, brief chipmunks voice overlaid on the right side toward the end.

12) Pickpocket Song - (6:24) Basic rock group sound, insistent sound in there with one repeated note, then changes with the chord, then back. Sounds like a garage group, and nice effort by them. More limited sound so far than some of the other songs, still appealing. Same fuzz, thickness, vocals happening but no big deal. Wow, there was something that happened, the middle music bit, like Jerry Lee Lewis piano, several seconds, then a lot of going every which way. I love it now. Getting more overlaid with tracks, instruments, noises, effects, swirling to a very pleasing ending? No, almost 3 minutes left, great. This is good sounding stuff. They're having fun throwing it all in, making the most of it on this song. Get it, you'll like it. Very excellent track! Perfect ending song, too.

This is the line-up of songs as downloaded at Napster. The title had [Standard] in brackets like that, so there might be other versions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Idol Tonight

Stephanie got voted off. I thought she was great. Not great last night, but all the times before. And about perfect looking. She wasn't shown in the auditions or performing at Hollywood week, that I remember seeing, yet ended up in the top 24, then the top 11. I was real impressed with her, so I'm sad to see her go.

It's even sadder considering some of the crumb bums who are left.

The episode last night was mostly boring. I wasn't into it at all. I'm not big on Shirley Bassey songs. When you say "British Invasion" you're not talking about singers who did James Bond theme songs, except Paul McCartney much later. "British Invasion" doesn't mean "Tell Him," which was by an American group. Just because it was covered by someone from England, no, no good. Then we had LaKisha doing some big cabaret thing, Stephanie something like that, Jordin doing one of the world's most awful songs, "I Who Have Nothing." Yikkus.

It was pretty obvious whose songs were considered edgy enough to sound contemporary today, the Zombies, Kinks, Stones. Not Hermans Hermits even though Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone was on the show. Sanjaya considered doing "I'm Into Something Good," and if Sanjaya avoids your song, you know it's passe. So he goes with "You Really Got Me." He had a lot of great moves all over the place and really put a lot into it. But still, we know he's no good, so it wasn't a joy to behold. And seeing the little girl cry got to be too much. Someone did "Time of the Season" (Blake), and "She's Not There" (Chris S.) And Gina, was it? did "Paint It Black." She's not convincing as a rocker girl.

OK, all that, that brings us to tonight. Peter Noone did his song, "There's A Kind of Hush." I actually like Hermans Hermits records, but passe is a word that definitely comes to mind. It really seemed odd and like from another galaxy. Lulu did "To Sir With Love," which is a pretty good song, and she belted it out. It was nice to see them on the stage for another moment in the limelight, but, in Peter Noone's case especially, I don't know that it'll win him many new fans. Which probably isn't the point. He was the cutest guy in the '60s. Even though Peter Frampton was the "Face of 1968," I don't think many people remember that, Peter Noone was the face of the rest of the decade. Cute, like Paul McCartney but more so. (Oh, I forgot Davy Jones.) Now that he's old, like all of us, he reminded me of the Crocodile Hunter. Super cute people never look that great when they age. There are probably exceptions, so don't hold me to that.

Getting to the final two was a quick process. Three up, safe. Three more, safe. Three more, safe, too. That leaves Chris Richardson and Stephanie. A bunch of other things to get to, then at the end, Stephanie out. Sad. They didn't have her sing at the end.

Chris Sligh - There was an article, I think at the Washington Post today, about someone at his old college, Bob Jones University, worrying that he, as a Christian singer, is doing secular music. That's worth looking for.

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

I listened to this album yesterday, and the first song a few times, and Dashboard a couple times. So by now it ought to be in my album file up there, where everything seems familiar, good, and orderly. Going by my personal principle that any album I don't like the first time could very well be one of my favorites, this one was half and half.

But now for a fresh listening, I insert the earbuds into those waxy things on the side of my head and get ready for the joy of music. Here's what I know about Modest Mouse, nothing. I've heard the name several times over the years from checking out usenet music groups. That's it. Plus what I listened to yesterday, that's it. I understand they had a hit single, "Float On," and someone did one of their songs on American Idol, and their album is stocked at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is no one's favorite store, but once your album is there it generally means you're in the mainstream; they don't stock much marginal music.


1) March Into The Sea - Accordion, then I know it becomes something more raucous. Mad scientist voice, or mad sea captain voice, thrashing about on deck. I like the wimpy innocent voice a little ways in. It's kind of Flaming Lips or Starlight Mints. The sea captain part has to be a fun one to sing. This is actually a pretty good song, now that it's in that section of my head. I didn't care for it the first time. The music is loping, with a strong guitar, minor note sound, and edging in violin; "bang your head like a gong...clang clang." Builds like a waltz, much madness swirling about, the singer in anguish.

2) Dashboard - I really like this one. It's a very conventional sounding song, straightforward. "The dashboard melted but we still have the radio." The voices are eccentric, cool answers by the background guys. Musical interlude, very pretty, this is an excellent song. Driving beat, like an '80s sound. "Would've been, could'a been worse than you ever know." Tiny giants and tinier giants. Just listening, what it's all about, I don't know. I read the lyrics yesterday, and that didn't help much, but it might've just been me.

3) Fire It Up - Starts very orderly, dot dot dot dot. "Fire it up, when we finally turn it over, make a beeline toward the boulder, we have a drink, you've had enough." Hanging out on the shore, leaving our clothes there. Guitars make a kind of echo to the lyrics, wa wa wa wa wa. Sounds sentimental in the middle, sentimentality I like. The "fire it up" phrase is sweet, too. These guitars are great. Vocal interplay neat, playing with the words, I like. Wa wa wa wa wa again. "Like trying to save an ice cube from the cold." Good line. This song is really great. Tones going up in beautiful way toward the end.

4) Florida - Manic beginning, vocals and guitars. Chorus part very pretty, though I can't understand the words. There's a cool collapsing part, like an insert. "Florida!" Now we have the collapsing bit a couple more times, really nice. Hope that's clear enough. How do you describe music anyway? Manic guy is back, guitars answer like boards falling over. Ha ha.

5) Parting of the Sensory - Before this one starts, I had the feeling it was something like dying, or parting of the veil, yesterday. It made me think of spiritualists, like Madame Blavatsky or something that I don't know much about. Maybe it's not. Let me listen again. It seemed like the heart of the record. "Carbon's anniversary," is that what it says? "The parting of the sensory." Like you're carbon and you're going to rejoin the all, become building blocks for other beings. The music is laid-back yet eccentric, a good word. Violin is morose. "She's parting again, if you please." "Who the hell made you the boss?" "The weather changed for the worst." Big music notes, building, like a whack in the head. "A trip to the exact same spot." "We're lost." You can't get lost. Music really wild and great in this bit. "Sometimes you will die and somehow something's going to steal your carbon." This is going to be repeated over and over. It's good. Hoe-down music toward the end. All confused about who's going to die and what's going to happen to the carbon.

6) Missed The Boat - Sounds real nice and conventional (which is also good) to start. I like comfort, too. "Change the subject, I was knocking on your ears." Sentimental and yearning stuff, while sounding edgy. Very pretty stuff, so accessible, sounds autobiographical in the extreme, proclamations about how it's been, self-indulgent, like this post. It's not like there's any reason to hold back, is there? After all, who cares. It's only the noosphere that cares anyway. This might be a song I wouldn't like that much in the long-run, because it's so much like what I've said, like "Creeque Alley," I only like that stuff briefly. But I do love Boston's "Rock 'n' Roll Band." Guitars, nice.

7) We've Got Everything - Thank goodness we have an edgy opening, angular guitars. The vocals are edgy but also very accessible. When I heard this stuff yesterday it sounded foreign, today it's like an old shoe. Telling what various ones did, listing the guys, and saying "We've done everything, like trial by fire, so I guess we'll stop trying now." This is also a very sentimental song. Rockers are always the most sentimental people. Explain that. Country guys look for the clever turn of phrase, rockers knit doilies.

8) Fly Trapped In A Jar - This one is going to open with fly buzzing, that I believe morphs into a guitar, distorted at first, then revealing itself in clarity. Or maybe not. Crazy vocal style, like a comic voice. "One wing isn't even enough." Interesting sounding verses. Sharp pointed instruments. Something about Gary, and I hadn't noticed. The words sound easy to come up with, since it can be anything. You could make this up as you go along. The guitars recall the fly. "We were already dead."

9) Education - Bass, bass, with the crazy vocal. The guitars sound a lot like "Fly Trapped" guitars. In fact the tune reminds me of the last song, but I'm not backing up. Hadn't lived enough to even die. Death comes up again. Guitars in the middle, nice vibrato, and close up secondary vocals, shortly there. I don't care for the vocal style that much on this song. It's similar to some of the others, but by now it's wearing out its welcome. Plus I'm getting hungry and it's still an hour to American Idol. Books on the shelf looking much smarter than me, I can identify with it. I should look up the words to this one.

10) Little Motel - Starts very peacefully. I would like to hear it go like that. The vocal from track 1 is back. I usually think of this voice when I think of indie rock. "Sinking ships" and adrift. "That's what I'm waitin' for," a nice refrain, lips, darlin'. Very pretty singing and group vocals. If I was a single track downloader, I'd go for this one, and a few others. I'll summarize in a bit. It's just sweet, like drifting along. This is the first day of Spring, too. So it's a good song for robins to bill and coo to, then nine months later a nest of blue eggs. Just a nice nice nice song. You might burn this one for Grandma, or the kids.

11) Steam Engenius - "I was born in a factory," then I don't get it. Back to edgy, good spitting out style, great instruments edging in. This vocal is the one that can deteriorate into the crazy sea captain voice, but it hasn't yet. So far it's good. And the background "Wa hoo" noises are good. Good hard rocking song, very verbose but not easily understandable. Pops down to a drum and high bass thing, and the vocals more plaintive. Voices harmonizing, but with some freedom. Now back into it. I have no idea what this song is about, but it has a great vibe. Factory songs get to me, really, I always think of the Kinks "Workin' in the Factory" song, or a title something like that. I used to walk country roads singing it, shouting at various people who weren't there.

12) Spitting Venom - Acoustic guitar and insistent voice. "Talkin' soda pop ... opinions I ain't got ... let it all drop." "You were spittin' venom at most everything you know." Let it drop, electric guitar appears in the background. Kind of a Leon Russell vocal. Now the guitars and full orchestral array is in evidence, with the same tune blasted out. This is a long track. There's still 6 minutes at this point. Can I make it? 5:00 to go and the acoustic guy is back. Horns, a musical intermission here. Introducing more and more, something of a shift in the vocal, not clear what he's saying. The music is a nice section. Like an extended build-up that is very slow and intentional, no rushing it. It was getting kind of boring at about 5:00 to go, then the whole ending section was great. I can't believe the track flipped and redeemed itself like that. But I loved hearing it. 40 seconds to go, and we're in this delicious musical madness.

13) People As Places As People - Straightforward rock song-sounding thing. Good, workman-like, hammered out, so far. Sounds like Dick Dale on guitar for a second there. Humorous, playful lyrics and style. Again, a good musical section right in the middle, like Japanese something. Funky drums, F-bomb, hurt my ears. I saw on Napster they had like three or four tracks marked "Explicit." An OK song, nothing special, average, there, now it's passing.

14) Invisible - Segueing into this song, neat sharp instruments, I really might cut myself, this is sharp, driving, big bad vocals, the hard edged rock style again. The instruments are cool to the extreme, pushing me out to the dance floor to do the Mashed Potato or whatever dance is hot these days. Only 2:31 to go. This could be a song to extend out, and tamp down the vocals to an inside voice. I haven't paid much attention to the words, because the music is so nice. Good innocent vocal is back, and some effects on the vocals, burying them behind a droning build-up, to the sharp, meat carving guitars. 30 seconds to go, and let me say that was an enjoyable time, except for all the typing. But it went by pretty fast.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good Advice

Bush was on TV, very defiant of Congress. He made what he called "a reasonable proposal" to have his aides go to Congress for an interview, but nothing more. Because he wants to keep it so aides will be able to keep giving him "good advice" without being hauled before Congress to tell what they said. My question would be, when has he ever gotten "good advice"? Or does he just reject it?

He definitely sounded like someone with something to hide. Otherwise, just put it out there. He said he didn't want to establish a precedent, but one of the reporters said there were already precedents of this very thing happening. He acknowledged that was so.

Tarzan of the Apes

I've never read a Tarzan book. I used to watch some of the movies on TV. They used to show them on Saturdays in the afternoon, black and white adventures in which Tarzan did all the great things he's known for. Lots of swinging, Cheetah noises, Boy, Jane. And I seem to remember a lot of swimming, and underwater fights where Tarzan could hold his breath and fight for maybe five, six minutes.

Today I was at a thrift store and got an old hardback book of the book simply called "Tarzan of the Apes." It lists some of the other Tarzan titles in the series, so it can't be a first edition, unless Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote five or six books and then published them. Doubtful.

It's not in very good condition, the binding is askew and there's some splitting at the back hinge, and various other problems. But 1914, a kid's book, it's a good one to find. Really, I'm kind of glad it's beat because I don't have the same motivation to sell it or treat it like a great collectible. Maybe I'll just lay in bed and read a little bit every night and dream of adventures out in the jungle with the original swinger.

The Classmate with the Hair

Probably almost everyone's seen these pictures of "classmates" in internet ads, I guess they're supposed to represent classmates from high school who are out there, we don't know where. Or maybe it's a site where you can look up your old buddies, I've never clicked on it.

This guy with the hair, maybe he doesn't want to be found. When you go back to the reunions, it's amazing how different the hair is from when we were in class. Yet, there are still those who cling to the style of the time, from back in the day. And it looks really bad, especially on the men. Gray pony tails, other gnarly features.

Today this ad had kind of a nasty placement on CNN, on the same page as the news of the college student who was electrocuted and found weeks later.

Stephen Colbert Takes on Rahm Emmanuel

I thought that was great last night. Colbert doesn't miss any of this stuff. Rahm ought to be ashamed of himself. He doesn't want congress folks to go on the Colbert Report. Sure, Colbert skewers them, and gets them to skewer themselves, but we know it's all just humor, right?

I loved the bit where Colbert had his middle finger in a ring box, up through the bottom. That was the funniest part. But I didn't know Rahm is supposedly missing part of a finger. Assuming that is true, it was even funnier. Colbert and his middle finger is real good, like a couple weeks ago when he was taking on the head guy of Viacom.

We Reserve the Right to Lie to Your Face

In the attorney general, political firings scandal, the White House is in their usual crazed mode. Congress wants Rove and Miers to testify, but the response from the White House is that they agree to be interviewed, not under oath, and no transcript.

Not under oath? Is there any poor deluded soul out there still today that believes a peep that comes out of this corrupt White House? They lie, they lie, they lie, and of course they lie about lying. To say you'd submit to an interview but not under oath is nothing but more of the same. 'I'll say what I want to say and I will not be held accountable for it.'

C'mon, Congress. Nail these guys.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, album, track by track...

I actually never heard of these guys before today. So technically that disqualifies me from commenting. But hey, I have to fill this blog up with something. Plus, I like music, so, technicalities aside, I guess I'm as qualified as anyone. I'm always sort of amazed when I read reviews of albums at All Music how they're able to know an artist's entire career, like they were there the day the guy made his first baby cry. I'm more like a guy who looks up once in a while and whatever I happen to see I see. So they could've been knocking off albums for the last 40 years and I'd never know it.

So, without further ado, further self-disqualification, let me say, this is an OK album, if you like this sort of thing. I personally like songs with words, singing more. Or something that is strongly melodic or obviously of a piece. This album has a lot of interesting bits, but the songs go five different directions, if you know what I mean. My favorite track is "What Do You Go Home To?" I like the whole droning, building, developing bits. My least favorite is the long one, "It's Natural to be Afraid." It could've been split into three or four songs and no one would've known the difference.

1) The Birth and Death of the Day - (7:49) Starts like a 20 truck pileup. Then the day is born, nice day, taking the dog out for a walk, recalling my own day. Not music for music's sake, though I'm only going by the title and the peaceful guitars back and forth, left and right. Very pretty with a mounting cymbal thing back there. Then whaaaa, big guitar strums. Following that, it all piles up again, with raging drums, and wild wild guitars. Ah, and I was about to have an afternoon nap. This reminds me of an overture. We'll see what comes next. The drums are being damaged. 6:15, another down to peacefulness moment, and with a minute to go that's where it is. This is coming over my tiny computer speakers, so I'm not getting the full effect.

2) Welcome, Ghosts - (5:43) Segues into it, with pretty guitars leading the way, then drums announcing we're going somewhere else. But a minute in and we're not there yet. Now the drum beat changes to something else, with the same kind of guitar answering, echoing each other back and forth. 2:40, and we're into a peaceful reverie, like drifting along, maybe like the picture on the cover. 3:27, back to some of the most pronounced drums I've heard, and guitars appropriate for that. In fact, we're back and forth, nice, manic music perhaps not for the masses. I'm not personally too into it. I'm trying to imagine how it'd be to run to this, or do anything else to it except listen.

3) It's Natural To Be Afraid - (13:27) Huge, long track coming up. Begins with some effects, like backwards snippets played, and meandering instruments, noodling to atmosopheric effect. There's a somber, kind of scary bommm and minor-note sounding guitars, scary, dare I listen alone? This one would be good to listen to if you were creeping around a building said to be haunted, like those guys on Sci Fi channel. It's menacing, with a great title to match. I'm expecting a bunch of bats to swoop in. Soundtrack for a haunting. "Welcome, Ghosts" and now this. There's some nice centered distortion, like a dozen off channel radio stations being monitored at one time. But it's going on a bit long. You have anything like that for a prolonged time, it becomes oppressive. 4:00, that's fading out, and another jaunt out by the lilies and rippling brook, a few clouds in the sky, slightly melancholy. This is like a new song in here, but it still has a noodling quality. Like we're not exactly going anywhere. That's all interrupted at about 6:27, a renewed drum/cymbal guitar exchange, now ongoing. The notes, like in most music, are going up and down. 8:02, we're changing the pace a little, more driving, but that faded quickly, very quickly. I liked that bit, too. 9:19, going nuts with the drums, loud, fast guitars. Wild bit starts here. So don't doze off if you're listening to this album. That happens in Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, you'll recall, just when you're about dead, boom! It kills you again. Pathetique. I don't know, this is just like one big noodling-around track. But it IS natural to be afraid. At 11:43, the backwards snippets like at the beginning return. So we're going to be noodling around the remainder of the track.

4) What Do You Go Home To? - (4:59) Starts off with what sounds like killer bees on piano. A shimmering note appears from down below, maybe up above, and drones for a time, like tuning. Then a bundle of other notes ease in, then a swirling piano riff, and all together, with the killer bees more or less vanished. This one has lots of instrumental sounds coming together like a quilt. Someone takes charge about 2:45, then a drum. This is a good track, very droning, moaning, yet tinkling, pounding, purposeful. In a way it's like the noises of a factory with many different workers making one thing. At about the 4:00 mark, it's slowed down, no drum, with the killer bees drone returned and predominating. It has a kind of subtle vibrato to it, then at 4:30 it's faded, with a piano and a few notes. One single note fills in the last 10 seconds.

5) Catastrophe and The Cure - (7:56) Very dense thicket of music and drum pounding, telling of some crisis. The sidewalks are cracked, I don't know. It's a different song, but it recalls some of another, "It's Natural." At 1:36, some great drum/guitar build-up, faster, faster. Where we're going, I don't know. But it's intense. 2:19, we go to a peaceful bit, which will probably be shortlived. There's some incredible noodling going on, quick strumming. 3:21, a different musical strain takes over, with guitars washing over us. Then a marching percussion joins for a short time. At 4:30, we've been maybe 10 different places in the song. I'm trying to find a focus, but since this is just my first time hearing it, I'm not doing very well. I like it but not that much. The good news is I seldom like an album the first time through. But this one I probably won't give a second chance to. I like words, too, not just guitars, drums, alternating peace and chaos. 6:15, we're into a strong drum section, getting some exercise there. It's called "Catastrophe and The Cure," so who knows what that's supposed to mean? It's all good, one guesses. 7:21, built up to crescendo, then down to dainty little notes to end it off.

6) So Long, Lonesome - (3:40) - Segues from that into this. Starting off with nice, high guitar notes, then a piano creeps in, two maybe. 1:00, establishing its own tune. A new tune, and a nice one so far, but no extended melody line. (What do I know? Nothing, really). I like the snippets at 2:15, like what came before in the track, but more distinct and identifiable as something. Strong drums at 2:50, with the piano playing a high riff several times. 3:20, we're getting ready to close it out, and it's closing out very very peacefully.

The Frames - The Cost

Track by track, The Frames, "The Cost" album. Overall, a sad sounding album that expresses tons of emotion, finds glimmerings of happiness for seconds at a time, and seems to be full of a lot of pain and brokenness. Basically, you can find your own story here. But cheer up, you're not that bad off.

1) Song for Someone - (5:36) Moody opener, speaking between the lines, hope for a girl who's not there, bursts of intensity about the relationship, then back to the hope that they'll be the same, and she/we will "survive this wave again." There's a good question, about being "born for someone," if we are, and if things can be "in their place." Maybe a little sad about having to wonder about such things. The instruments build in volume and thickness, then back to a guitar before broadening back out, an intense drum that goes nicely with the questioning. There are voices buried in the instruments, not at the front. The violins give it a real moody tone.

2) Falling Slowly - (4:35) The track starts off like it's someone in anguish. A very plaintive vocal begins after that, but by the chorus it's up to full group, with a very emotional falsetto at the end of the lines, on "time" and "now." "Moods that take me and erase me and I'm painted black" gives the overall sense. But the chorus reveals a hope, "Take this sinking boat and point it home, we've still got time." The title refers to going down but not so quickly that he can't be saved. The music tells the story as much as the lyrics, alternately thick and minimal.

3) People Get Ready - (5:28) It opens very plainly, the lyrics very matter-of-fact. "What has gone between us is a lot, is a lot, and who'll get there to clean us if you're not, if you're not." "People all get ready" is because they're tearing down the stand, breaking down, coming to a stop. The instruments build or are added very slowly, and they sound like crying, kind of sad. This is a bitter sounding song. "Who'll be there to ignore us when you're not, when you're not." Then we come to a high point, and here it's loud. It's repeated a few times, "We have all the time in the world to get it right, to get it right." And actually that's pretty optimistic, I mean, who are we trying to impress? Toward the end the track is as thick and dense with music as can be, wall of sound.

4) Rise - (3:26) Here's one that sounds like a breather in a way, with the first word being "Breathing." "The wind is at my side and so are you." That sounds like a place to start from that won't be near as sad. Indeed. "Sometimes we will fall from the light, but it shines on us tonight." Yet, still, this is not going to be a happy happy song, because it sounds like a song for a brief moment. Between crises. The music is equally hesitant to see too much joy in this. They have a nice sound with the violins and all those thick places, making for an outpouring of emotion that meets the singer's observations and closeness to pain. "And together we will rise" is how it ends.

5) Mind's Made Up - (3:44) Guitar interplay, since it's "mind's made up," maybe this means thoughts. "If you want something and you call, call, then I'll come running to fight, and I'll be at your door when there's nothing worth running for." If you make up your mind, don't change it. There's probably a good story behind the song but it's not clear from the listening, so it's a good make-your-own-story song. The music has that kind of bounce, like back at the opening guitars. It gets big with the violins, screaming out really. I can't think of what it reminds me of, like acid violins, sort of the Allman Brothers' guitars on "Ramblin' Man" at the last third of the song. But at the end it dies down quickly and goes back the way it started. Like a term paper.

6) Sad Songs - (3:09) There's "a war that can't won." One of the other songs mentioned warring, too. This sounds like a "single" in certain ways, catchy chorus that's not as intense as some of the other songs, yet it taps into our personal sadness, which would actually sell more than anything too cheerful. The song is staying at one level, not building to anything big. It's a very basic track, no doubt one that could easily worm it's way into your head and you'd be humming it. Still, it's kind of sad.

7) The Cost - (4:20) Here the guitars and drums are heavy, like a forest. The song is about love, the cause of their suffering. But with such loss has been a gain, "so lay your burdens down and stop your crying ... We'll let it burn, burn us down." The heavy vibe spells out the title and words, thinking of cost, very ponderous, like a big lurching mud monster. I like the music on this one. Anyone who's known love knows it's as painful as anything. Hey, this song needed to go on for another couple minutes, really. This is one where I wanted the ponderous instruments to keep chugging it out, then no more words, then a fade.

8) True - (5:14) Here we start just the opposite of "The Cost," with a slight beginning. He's told a lot of lies, and they're like little anchors in his chest that pull us down into this mess. (He sounds like he'd be a hard guy to live with.) He says he'll be gone again. "I find it so hard to be true," with secrets like a blackness in my heart. This minimal, verse part is pretty long. You know it has to build, and here it finally comes, about 2:10 in. "I played the saint, and saint I ain't." (I find that hard to believe.) The build dies down fairly quickly, so that's the chorus. At least he's a guy who seems to be trying. Where's the big part? 3:20, we're into it again, and I don't think we're going back at this point. Yup, with a great added bonus, a sing-song background vocal only half buried. Very very nice, the ending part was.

9) Side You Never Get To See - (3:40) "The side you never get to see is the part I keep from everyone." The vocal on this one sounds both tossed-off and sincere. There's a sweet loping instrumental accompaniment on this one. It tells something, like a swirl of thoughts from a sincere point of view. It sounds like he's saying some of it is "a lie," or maybe it's "alive." Of course there are lots of sides of us that no one gets to see. Even if you're putting it out there, it really is not complete, so maybe that's what it means that it's a lie (I'm not 100% sure about that word, if that's the word.) The big build toward the end has that great instrumental sound, which is kept up in the song. Nice if you like self-examination, good stuff.

10) Bad Bone - (4:42) The vocals are right in your lap. "There's a bad bone inside of me, all my troubles started there." Wow, the songs on this album are very personal, like confessions. Very minimal instruments here, one guitar, and a vocal right on top of you. But then the instruments come in in a subtle way, you can make out each note. "When the anger that you feel turns to poison in your soul, then the scars you only feel will start to show." A little bit about a relationship comes in next, which sounds brutal. "To die with you upon the vine," a depressing thought, or maybe it means something ongoing to the very end. I'd like to think so. At 3:13 we start the build for the big finish. And let's bring everyone back in for another bow!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Rastaman Vibration

This is an album from 1976, one of my favorites, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Rastaman Vibration.

1) Positive Vibration - Such a great album, starting off with this peaceful music and positive song. The I Threes are there as beautiful background singers. And Bob Marley, "If you get down and you quarrel everyday, you're saying prayers to the devils, I say, oh oh." The alternative is to help one another on the way and make things much easier. Why live in a negative way? "Make way for the positive day." There's a bell or ting going in this song along with the good reggae music. "Jah love, protect us." Back to the main verse. "I and I vibration, positive."

2) Roots, Rock, Reggae - Opens with drums, then the organ and piano. "Play I some music, this a reggae music. Roots, rock, reggae!" Bob calls to Mr. Music, that he sure sounds good. "What to be got to be. Feel like dancin', come dance with me." It's a good celebration of music, with some interesting percussion, like little cloc-cloc's. "We're bubbling on the top 100, just like a mighty dread." There's a horn blowing mid-song, and a guitar that answers Bob. The music is so clean and precise.

3) Johnny Was - Background voices need the beginning make it sound like a serious song, which it is. "Woman hold her head and cry, 'cause her son had been shot down in the street and died, from a stray bullet." Johnny was her son. A passerby passes by and sees her cry. A question, "How can she work it out?" The wages of sin is death, gift of Jah is life. "Johnny was a good man, good, good, good, good, good, good man, she cried." He was shot just because of the system, so this is a matter of injustice. "Comforting her, I was passing by. She complained, then she cried." She still wants the child she bears.

4) Cry to Me - "Cry to me, now." This is a list song. "Walk back through the pain, shed those lonely teardrops." It's what you need to go through. The music is cool, almost like sound effects in the background as much as accompaniment, especially with earbuds. They're back there like, 'Don't let us get in your way,' yet everything is perfectly in sync. There's some nice interplay with the I Threes and Bob.

5) Want More - "Do you want more?" The music is with some slick drums and effects, and the unmistakable sound of the group. It all sounds so effortless. "In the valley of decision," a biblical phrase, I believe. "But Jah have them in the region in the valley of decision. Go down, backbiter." Hot instrumental break, with electric guitar. Then Bob returns with the singers. I'm not sure what the song is about. Must be about divine vengeance against enemies. That makes some sense with the religious imagery. That phrase was from the Bible, Joel 3:14: "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision."

6) Crazy Baldhead - "Them crazy, them crazy, we gonna chase them crazy baldheads out of town." This song has something to do with outside forces coming in, profiteers, exploiters of some sort, enslavers, conquerors. But I don't know what the baldhead stuff's about. Don't Jamaicans lose their hair? It sounds almost like a Jamaican folk song. "Chase those crazy bump heads, out of the YOWN." I like that playing with the lyrics. More great sound effects, like a tiny WHEEEE and cloc-clocs and WHIRRR. "Here comes the con man."

7) Who the Cap Fit - They're all message songs, but this is a message song explicitly. "Man to man is so unjust." "Who the cap fit, let them wear it." The middle bit has some coo coo and cluck cluck. "Who Jah bless, no one curse." Lifting up the people to have wisdom and trust in divine guiding. Understand life and the ways of man: "Who the cap fit," those are the ones I'm talking about. Like if the shoe fits, wear it.

8) Night Shift - The bass opening is a nice instrumental opening. More Bible quotes, from Psalm 121. "The sun shall not smite I by day, nor the moon by night." A guy's working all night and it's all right, working on the forklift in the night shift." There's some killer background interplay on this one, the I Threes. "By the sweat of my brow, eat your bread." All night and all right! Going on in your life doing it.

9) War - This is from a speech by Haile Selassie. "Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war." And it builds from there, to class distinctions. And till the color of your skin is of no significance. And until basic human rights are guaranteed to all. There's war until that day. A song about the fact of rising up and conflict. Bob has great pronunciation of "sub-human bondage" and "utterly DEstroyed." There's some good bubbling music in there and building horn answers to some of the pronouncements. Positive ending: "Good over evil."

10) Rat Race - "Uhhh! You're too rude!" The song considers the whole "rat race," with some other races, dog, horse, human race. "Political violence fill your city, yeah." "Rasta don't work for no CIA." "When you think it's peace and safety, a sudden destruction." (1 Thessalonians 5:3 - "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.") It really is a disgrace to see the human race in a rat race. Rat races are for rats. The song is a good consideration of the same old grind, a bunch of problems that are there for everyone, all of us running about.

John McCormack - In Irish Song

Yea, for St. Patrick's Day, we'll check out a few Irish tunes by this old tenor, singer popular around 1915, a bunch of years in there. They did some different vocal stuff back then, very sentimental, presented in a very formal way.

These songs are from a modern compilation of some of John's tracks, called "In Irish Song."

Come Back To Erin - Starts with very sentimental instrumental sound, violin and piano. Then John's voice, plaintive and tinny (recording limitations of the time) appears. I can barely make out the words, like a foreign language, but there's a word once in a while. "Come back again," I heard. I hear some of that formal rolling of sounds you hear on old old records, supposed to make it sound classy in some cases or foreign in others.

A Nation Once Again - A better sounding song from a recording standpoint. Still the lyrics are a mish mash for the most part. I heard the title! The instruments include a tuba-sounding thing for the bass notes. John's doing the verses in a very workman-like way. Kind of boring. But I know about nothing about Irish history, so probably this would have some people teary-eyed. Big finish, blah.

Boys of Wexford - "We are the boys of Wexford, who fought with heart and hand." They were fighting to free their native land. The tune sounds like a nice tune for a tribute, memory song, in the folk song style it goes alternately up and down. Like most tunes. Like doing basic skills tests. You put A for a couple and you know there needs to be a B, C, or D probably next.

Green Isle of Erin - Very scratchy source for this track. OK, this isn't doing much for me.

We skip down for one more song:

Trottin' To The Fair - Extremely scratchy source disc for this track, too. But it's a bouncy, sprightly tune. Marching along, bouncy bouncy, one of John's rolled syllables there, more than one. As to what the song is saying, I can't discern the words very well. That was a short track, about 1:22.

Review: John McCormack's songs are old sentimental favorites. They were very popular at one time for entertainment value. Now they're so antique they're other-worldly. And that's good, too. The recordings on this disc (Napster download of it) are from a range of sources, from not so bad to terrible. There are only a couple of reasons why anyone would want it: historical or collector-interest. For entertainment value, there isn't much. The tinniness, scratchiness, and muddled tone, indecipherable lyrics are too much.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Survivor - Can It Survive?

The buzz on Survivor is no longer discernible. We used to wait for it anxiously. Now it's like we wonder what's the use? This year has been as poor as any season. So far, two boring tribes, one with luxury and one with nothing. It looks like it might be about ready to switch up, a merge or something. Which they better hurry up and do. It took me a week to get around to watching the last episode.

American Idol - Brandon Voted Off

Well, not really voted off. He didn't get enough votes to stay. There was an interview at Entertainment Weekly ( today in which Brandon said he expected to be the one gone. He messed up his lyrics, one of the Supremes' songs, he didn't have a big fan base, and he was not that great beyond his initial audition. His occupation is background singer, which I think would be a great occupation. He needs to stick with that and be happy.

Sanjaya was in the bottom three, along with Phil. Phil was safe and sent back to his chair. (I don't like Phil, for various reasons.) Sanjaya is totally bad, very weak voice, and everyone in the country, beyond starry-eyed 13-year-old admirers, knows he shouldn't be allowed within 50 feet of a stage or to pack heat (I mean, a microphone). He came out with one of the Diana Ross songs, too, I can't think of which one. And it was like a wounded animal looking for a place to die. But then when the votes came in, he was safe!

I really would like to see all the guys voted off, bang bang bang, one after another, and leave it all women. The "boys" have been as terrible as anything. Blake is the one, single man who has anything desirable about him, and even that is sort of like lukewarm coffee. As for the ladies, the two frontrunners are LaKisha and Melinda, with Jordin in the mix. My favorite is actually Stephanie but she doesn't get rave reviews from the judges; it's like they've decided to promote the others. And I also really liked Sabrina, who reminded me of Mona Lisa.

All My Children - Krystal's Revelation

Somedays it feel like a total waste of time to watch TV. This is one of those days. I like All My Children, or I have for years, but more and more I'm antsy, looking at the clock, or just getting up and walking away. And we actually have a major revelation today, so it's not like it's just Ryan and Annie's goo-goo eyes and laughing love talk to waste the day on. Or Zoe and Biana, which looks like something might happen pre-transsexual operation. I don't know. I was there for the giggling and the talk of Maggie and the chocolate cake. Then for when Babe and JR came back to the Chandler mansion. But I just couldn't watch it.

Adam said to Krystal, yesterday in fact, "There's nothing you could say that would take away my love for you." Famous last words, since today she told him her baby was Tad's. The last I saw, Adam needed to revise and extend his remarks, since he's proclaiming he doesn't love her NOW. Krystal, what a dork. You go out to the woods to comfort Tad, or whatever you were out there for, and the comfort has to take the form of having sex? But it's the old rule of soap operas, whenever there's a choice to be made, 90% of the time it will be the wrong choice. That's how they manage to have train wrecks to keep the show going year after year.

Really, Adam is not a nice guy, usually. Charming, very nice looking. But he has a whole bad side that makes most bad sides looking saintly. So there's no telling what he might do. He actually might accept the whole thing and go on with his bad self. But that'd be totally out of character.

Songs This Morning

BILLIE HOLIDAY – "Moanin' Low" – I'm starting off moanin' low, with a weird song choice for first thing in the morning. This is a dusky, midnight song, from the CD "Blue Billie." There's quite a long musical introduction, piano and low-key combo, shuffling along. Billie starts singing with about a minute and a half to go out of over 3 minutes. "Moanin' low, my sweet man I love him so, though he's mean as can be." There's a yacky horn that comes in like it's meant to be the man's voice, very squawky. Her man treats her so poorly and makes her troubles double with his worries when she ain't deservin' of none, but she's also the kind of woman he needs. So her sweet man is going to go, putting her in a state of moanin' low.

I'm in the B's, so what is there? ...

BILLY WARD AND THE DOMINOES – "St. Therese of the Roses" – I like St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, sending roses from Heaven. She's my favorite saint. Of course I'm basically ignorant on saints but I've claimed her anyway. This song is from a Decca record in the '50s. And here we go: Starts with a heavenly choir. Then Billy strongly sings to St. Therese (he says it 'Theresa'), he will come to her by night by the altar in the chapel, praying by candlelight. What's he going to pray for? "Give your blessings to my sweetheart, and the love that we both share." So it's a romantic need, for Therese to guide, protect, through the years that lie ahead. He prays that she'll fill their hearts with sunshine on the day that they are wed. So nice, she's the "Little Flower of Heaven, guiding all that come to you." She'll make his prayer come true. Instrumental break, with horns and violins, and a combo behind, with the heavenly choir again. Then he repeats some of the lyrics of before, with a swelling ending, "I know you'll make my prayer come true," with the choir taking us out in majesty and devotion. This is a very nice song, which puts me in mind of my other St. Therese song:

THE DEJOHN SISTERS – "Theresa (The Little Flower)" – This song is available on a CD, "The Complete DeJohn Sisters." But mine is from the original Epic 45 rpm, 1950s. It's a scratchy record, but one of the few records I've made into an MP3 because it's so good. So, here goes, 2:40... Guitar intro with organ in the background. Then vocal, "Theresa, the Little Flower, she loved the roses so, the symbol of her love." That is so beautiful. Then repeat her title, and "she watches tenderly each hour from above." Chorus: By the hill, by the sea, wherever the devotee is, Theresa's prayer guides. The organ in the background is cheesy but nice. "I trust her sheltering arms and everlasting love." Then repeat of the chorus, with an answering guitar. This is a pretty song, even with the scratchiness. Big finish on trusting her sheltering arms and everlasting love. I don't know what all else the DeJohn Sisters did, but this is a great one.

Speaking of 45 rpm records, I'll be self-indulgent and go for an obscure one:

THE PETE KLINT QUINTET Р"Walkin' Proud" РThis was a '60s group from Iowa, one of the ones like Dee Jay and the Runaways who broke into the national market, however small an impact it actually made. I don't know much more about their history, but I'm sure they're in the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. They were played quite a bit on the best teen music station in Des Moines, KIOA in the '60s. Including this song, of course, which was released on Mercury Records. I don't know what it did nationally but it was popular in Des Moines. OK, I just looked it up. It peaked on the Billboard chart at Number 98 and was on for three weeks, which is barely anything. But it's on my MP3 player and it's in the Top 10 today: Such a cool combo beginning, and a strong vocal. "Well, you're tellin' everybody that you're puttin' me down. And they're all waitin', they want to see me frown." You can tell by the title that he's not going to BE put down. No, he's got news for them. All your so-called friends are never going to see him cryin'. Great chorus with background vocals. "Everything's going to look the same, I'm going to keep on talkin' loud, walkin' proud." "Baby, I'm going to shout." High ooos in the background. He does feel an ache in every step he takes, but he's going to keep walkin' proud. I assume that's Pete Klint on the vocal, and he has a nice voice for a song like this. It's not overdone or over-expressed, and it's not punk. It's a clean recording too, very crisp, and not clich̩ like a lot of teen records, like of the "Little Latin Lupe Lu" variety. It's an oldie I never get tired of, so there.

THE FABULOUS FLIPPERS – Pete Klint and KIOA put me in mind of another record they used to play a lot. But I don't have it on my MP3 player. I was at a thrift store the other day and there was an album (1970) by the Flippers (a Kansas group). But it was beat to absolute death so I didn't get it, deep gashes, must have made a great Frisbee for someone! The big song by them that was played was "Harlem Shuffle" and it's great. But it's not presently available for listening to.

I'm going to listen to something that's not an old oldie, checking through here...

GWEN STEFANI – "Early Winter" – This was a constant player for me a couple months ago or less. It's off the "Sweet Escape" CD, the new one. It's track 4, and what I'd call an album cut. It's a great song for winter, and it has some good intensity. I like Gwen's songs pretty much all of them, but I definitely think songs like this are better than something silly (and kind of offensive) like "Yummy." Anyway, let it spin: The track will sound like it's mildly distorted. I can't figure that out. But anyway: "You know how to get me so low, my heart had to crash when we spoke, I can't fix what you broke." So it's immediately introspective and examining. "I always was and always was one for cryin,' I always was one for tears. The sun's getting cold, it's snowing, looks like an early winter for us." I love that. The music in the background is thick and distorted. "The seasons escape you," so there's the word 'escape' again. She says, "I never was one for lyin'." Early winter = metaphor for the chilly relationship, came on a bit quickly. Will any of it be redeemed? I like the "Why, hy, hy, hy...." Then with a minute to go she's getting intense with summary repetitions. I'm getting too analytical, like legs in stirrups or something. Now here's a cool part, "Starting over and over and over again." Maybe that's somewhat redemptive, but I would say not, it sounds more like problems of the past repeated now. Great emotional song, great song to supplement any downer, dour day. Enjoy your depression!

A couple more. Hmm, a Pure Prairie League song:

PURE PRAIRIE LEAGUE – "Amie" – I don't think I ever consciously owned a PPL album in my life. I knew about them vaguely, never who they were, but knew they had some kind of country rock thing, like the Byrds or Michael Nesmith or Poco, which, except for Michael Nesmith, I was never into. But with Napster downloads these days, you can tap into all kinds of stuff. So I was listening to Ozark Mountain Daredevils and went over to get something kind of like that from other groups. So I have a few PPL albums that I still haven't gotten into. But there's this song "Amie" that I've heard before (it was a chart hit, I believe) but couldn't have guessed who it was if I had four guesses and three of the clues were Pure, Prairie, and League. It's recognizable though, so it's in the air: Here goes: Crisp guitars interplay, picked out cleanly, then, a clearly country voice, basically the generic "You're off with someone else and I'm alone" story. The chorus is the killer: "Amie, what you wanna do? I think I could stay with you for a while, maybe longer if I do." Then back to the generic verse. If it weren't for the chorus this song would've been an album cut only. Very pretty guitar playing and shuffling in the background with the rest of the group. It's a refreshing, nice song, blessed with a dynamite chorus. The end is nice too, "Falling in and out of love with you," the tempo changes and the instruments become more minimal. Good one. This is country music for those who might not like country that much. But I can picture people in a bar, going "uh uh uh uh" on the verses and singing loudly and proudly on the chorus.

Now it's time for a killer finish, maybe a nap (not really), but I need first to be sedated:

THE RAMONES – "I Wanna Be Sedated" – Turn it up. What's his name, Joey? A basic Ramones' classic, with the usual sound. "Just put me in a wheelchair, get me on a plane... I can't control my fingers, I can't control my brain." Neat cookie cutter instrumental. I like the whole idea of a song like this, the lyrics are so beautifully dumb, like no one would think of writing a song like this but someone did! "Hurry, before I go loco." How many songs have 'loco' in the lyrics? "Ba, ba, ba, ba," I can't think what song I heard that in originally, the ba's, but there is one, or maybe not!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Melissa Etheridge, First Album Track by Track

Track by track of Melissa Etheridge, by guess who.

1) Similar Features - Heavy bass to begin, then M's voice very close and deliberate. "It shouldn't bother you." Building in intensity. "Imagine me there," someone with similar features to me. "I wanted to be the one." A do-it-by numbers dream, close your eyes, she's got similar features, but longer hair. Your loved one needs to be there, not just someone you don't love. So true. How could anyone want other than the one? Oh yeah, lust. But this gets back to the things of a true relationship. Kind of a guilt-inducing song, but in a positive way so the other person may realize the error of her ways. Who wants to lose what they have? On the other hand, if the person needs to be told all this, maybe she needs counseling or dumping. This is a pretty somber song with a heavy message. Use only for a struggling relationship, in which you're the wronged party.

2) Chrome Plated Heart - She has a chrome plated heart, angels up above crying, with rust in their eyes, etc. Sounds like maybe some car imagery, going by cars I personally have owned. The song has a funky acoustic guitar interplay. Chromium blues. Driving for miles. Love is real as the day is long, and night is black. So a heart that is chrome plated? Shiny but on a rusting frame. Also tough, rust on their love. Sleeping on the tracks, someone's about to run over her heart. This is also a very somber song, with a good chugga chugga going on, daring, strong vocals crying out in real despair. Then the title repeated and a plaintive fade.

3) Like The Way I Do - "Is it so hard to satisfy your senses?" To love me you have to climb some fences, scratching and clawing. I'm sensing a relationship song where there's a third party again, such as track 1. "Does SHE miss you, existing just to kiss YOU like I do?" The singer definitely carefully examines a relationship and wonders seriously about any kind of straying from the real thing. Which is kind of stupid, but as in track 1, there is lust and stupidity, a "Love the one you're with" kind of thing. "Does she LOVE you?" That's the whole thing, with stimulation and captivation back home as well. Yes, shock, electrify, rock you. Intense, and again, maybe best heard if you have the blues and maybe a straying partner. And who wants that? Builds to an anguished "No!!!!," then we're getting into the essential chorus ragged out, with a little more than a minute left. I don't know that I'd want to hear this from my loved one, but at least I can tell she'd probably have me back, and that's good. Instrumental now for the last 45 seconds, I would guess. We'll far so good, and there goes the fade.

4) Precious Pain - The title gets to me, having heard the previous 3 songs, I'm a little afraid where we're going here. "Everybody's got a hunger no matter where they are." Clinging to their own fear, hiding some scars. The pain is termed precious. This is a personal, close song, somber, reflective, with safety: kept safe in these chains. 2nd verse: "Everybody's got a reason to abandon their plan." Thinking of tomorrow with sorrow in hand today. One day, today. Examine your depression, your pain (other than depression as well.) Song builds, nice guitar work. Now back to some examination of the precious pain, empty and cold, keeping her alive, safe in these chains. We don't usually think of pain in such a positive way. So when life gives you lemons, look at them. Maybe lemons have something good about them. What could you possibly make?

5) Don't You Need - Starts off with guitar and voice. Had a dream, awoke with the taste of desire on her mouth. Realized her heart abducted her mind and both went south. Now she can't sleep because she's so wired, and screaming out, "Don't you need, don't you want, can't you taste it when you're alone?" Questioning someone on the intensity of their experience in some particular area. A thirst that can't be quenched, no relief for the hungry at heart. But this other person is just a thief, yet she holds the cards. There's some similarities to the other songs in intensity, fairly somber mood. The other songs didn't question the reality of the relationship, but this one is seeking out the sense of it all. Is the reality the same for you as it is for me? Song is returning at the end to the dream from the beginning, with fire in the dream, burning in her dreams and only morning can set her free. A minute to go, a nice breath at about 1:07 to go. Sounds like we might be guitaring it out from that point. Yes.

6) The Late September Dogs - Little spoken bit, then the song moans into view. Some cool interplay of instruments, bass, droning. I like songs that ease into it like that, but the guitar sounds very minimal in such a context. Nice, sparse, naked voice. Low-key droning in the background, and the bass returns. She feels a change in the air, searching for mercy everywhere, since...someone left. Calling out her name, and shouting: "Let it rain!" Intensity, letting the rain set her free, raining down on her. "Silence is the steel that pierces and cuts me to the bone." I like the notes blending in here, giving it a carefully organized but commiserating quality. Like emotions working in harmony and examining one's situation. Like some of the other songs, there's definitely trouble, estrangement, separation. Rain, going for newness, intensity, solid strong standing against the challenge, maybe even standing against all elements. Still 2:30 to go. Now the dogs are mentioned, the late September ones. She walked before she crawled. Her soul remembers and clutches to the pain. Intense, anguished song, with the last part being a repetition and building on what went before. Some tough stuff.

7) Occasionally - Starts with hand percussion. Saw someone with her new friends. She looks swell. The singer is drinking too much coffee and smoking cigarettes, just can't forget. "I'm only lonely when I'm driving in my car," and after dark. The hand percussion continues on, no other instrument. Lonely occasionally, when doing all this stuff. Here she (singer) has her strangers, addicted to the pain of delight. That's kind of a conflict with some of the other songs, but "after dark" all kinds of things can happen, and "occasionally." OK, that was no instruments all the way through.

8) Watching You - Guitar is back, with a simple acoustic beginning. "That's a good question. Why am I standing out here alone?" Doesn't know enough to come in from the rain, watching someone's window from here below, and might stay there all day. Needs to do something, because if she can't love you she don't want to love you. Trouble in paradise again. Wait, I don't think we've ever had paradise yet, except memories of true love somewhere way back when. So I keep watching you. Wondering about it all. Talking: wanting a cigarette. She can hear the dark side of the moon sometimes. Somber, intense, naked song. Still 2:24 to go. Some building intensity, now back to some resolution. All right, not very cold, subway mentioned, with sound effect overlay. Repeating some of the "If I can't love you..." theme. Last 50 seconds is getting intense, keep watching you, until she sees right through. Relationship examination, up close, x-ray close.

9) Bring Me Some Water - Tonight she feels so weak, but "in love all is fair." A sting, foulness of the night air. Tonight some other woman is making love to you. Bring me some water because I'm burning alive. Her baby's got another lover. Wow, the relationship demise never leaves, and of course the "Sweet Devil's got her soul." This is an intense song, the raw emotions back to the surface, spilling over, with the other woman whispering M's lover's name. "I don't know how I'm going to survive," very much an album of catharsis songs. The music has a fuzzed up guitar with an edge, matching the song's theme. There's a full rock band pounding it out. Last 30 seconds, repeating the sweet devil, other lover stuff. Whoever the chick is putting me through all this, I think I'd kick her to the curb.

10) I Want You - Rocking out, spitting out the vocal, with the rawness very clear. The lyrics have an edge, spit spit spit. "I want you," repeated several times. Desire and a stain inside of me. I didn't catch that bit after that. She (singer) is tortured, pounding inside her chest, screaming. I want you, I want you, I want you. Instrumental break at 1:40-ish to go. Heart in your fist, is it blood that you want? "Take me, strip me, cut me, see I'm bleeding." I like intensity, but relationships have to be more than being dumped/neglected/despised, don't they?, then pleading to be cut and stripped. Presumably she actually begins her day with toast and juice and isn't always quite this miserable. Aw, to be young and tortured again.

Overall, an impassioned album. Not simple or safe by any means. The songs have a certain simplicity but are complex statements of personal stuff. It's mostly on relationships that have gone sour or that may have been illusory. The music is played very much in touch with the lyrical content, not meant to overwhelm or contradict what is being said. What is being said is seen as most important, and the music expresses the same emotions.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Beatles - The White Album on My Gigabeat with Earbuds

Here we go, live-blogging the White Album:

1) Back in the U.S.S.R. - The sound of a plane tells us we're on a trip. And the song tells the story of a guy on a dreadful flight, but now back in his homeland, the hated Soviet Union. This was really something to sing in 1968. It'd be about like doing a Chuck Berry "Back in the U.S.A." take-off today about going to Tora Bora. Evil empire? That wasn't the half of it. "Moscow girls make me sing and shout." I don't hear any new revelations in this well-worn track. It's still very delightful. The airplane effects are extensive on earbuds. Some extra little talk in the background you don't usually notice except on earbuds.

2) Dear Prudence - My absolute favorite White Album song. As every website tells us, it has a connection to Mia Farrow's sister, there in India during the whole meditation time with the Maharishi. It's a delightful song of playing, daisy chains, clouds, and frolic, and smiling children. "Open up your eyes, Dear Prudence, see the sunny skies!" This is a picture perfect song. I've heard a varying version or two along the way, but it's just right here. This is definitely a song about living today and fully. Then here comes that marching Ahhhh stuff with the music chugging under and floating/flying over the whole thing, building to a very cool, diminishing bit with the single guitar. And that's the end!

3) Glass Onion - Self-referential song, Strawberry Fields, Fool on the Hill, another place you can go. The lyrics are nicely obscure. The walrus and me, man. And another clue for you all, the walrus is Paul! So what's that tell you? I always thought it meant the walrus on the Magical Mystery Tour cover was Paul, even with the John glasses. There's a pipe sustained in there a little more than I've heard before with speakers. Then the bass and violins overlay at the end.

4) Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - I heard they did this song repeatedly and hated it (except for Paul). Listening for the body parts thrown into the mix. Desmond = Desmond Dekker? Didn't he just die recently and I was reading that? Interesting clapping noises there, and sounds like voice percussion a bit. Ha ha ha ha ha. "Happy ever after." Hand, Arm, Leg! I do hear some good noises and background asides in here, laughing, what-not. I remember hearing an alternate version of this on one of the Lost Lennon shows (the only one I heard) several years ago, which could be on one of the Anthology discs. And it ends with Thank You.

5) Wild Honey Pie - Kind of a weird track, some of the instruments sound like an 8-track cartridge going bad, very wavvery. "I love you, honey pie."

6) The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill - That's Yoko on this track, right? I've heard that. "Bill and his elephants were taken by surprise." "Us instead of him" has an interesting deeper voiced bit on the harmony. The song sounds like a toss-off track, one that would've never made the single LP master, but would've been an Anthology track in the '90s.

7) While My Guitar Gently Weeps - George's very beautiful, serious song. Emotion, examination, "How to unfold your love," with Eric Clapton uncredited on weeping guitar. As Vivian Stanshall would say, "Thanks Eric!" I can sure hear George's layered vocals clearer on the earbuds, so nice. "You were perverted, too....No one alerted you." That's goosebump stuff. There's some Ohhs in the background you can't hear so easily on the speakers, right before the more overt Ohhs. Neat stuff buried in there.

8) Happiness is a Warm Gun - I always think of John being shot, same thing for "Come Together," Shoot me. Otherwise a great song. Supposed to have come from a poster or advertisement saying, "Happiness is a warm gun," based on expressions common at the time, Peanuts ("Happiness is a warm puppy") and Johnny Carson's book "Happiness is a Dry Martini" [maybe not the exact title, something like that, itself a take-off of Peanuts.] I love the doo-wop section of the song, and the kind of "Little Darlin'" talking part. "Mother Superior jumped the gun," you know. Good, subtle, deep voiced Uuuu's in here.

That would be the end of side one if we were going by the LP.

9) Martha My Dear - Paul's dog, get that bit of cliche trivia out of the way. Very romantic fellow. I don't hear too many other Beatles in the mix, unless that's J-G-R on tuba. Oh, now we have guitars and drums! Then the violins and tubas back in, and trumpets, sounds like. A very happy, challenging song, like Georgy Girl, "Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, silly girl!" Live up to your potential, get out there and live! Pretty song.

10) I'm So Tired - "Walter Raleigh, git." Nasty kind of word in English English, like "Randy Scouse Git" by Micky Dolenz. The song is intense but a sing-along favorite. "I'm feeling so upset ... and curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid git!" Ha ha ha. The drums are strong. He definitely wants a little piece of mind! Drifting off with some gibberish.

11) Blackbird - Paul on guitar and someone doing improv percussion on the left earbud. Bird effects, I know you can hear those well on speakers. The song is one of encouragement. Very lovely.

12) Piggies - They have the animal songs together, by intention. This is George's view on policemen at the time, I heard, because he had some trouble. But he gets into the bigger piggies with an uncaring eye to society around. "They need a damn good whacking." Kind of a minuet thing going on with cello counterpoint, pardon while I get my white powdered Beatle wig out and hand-held glasses and do a little dance around my room here. Thank God for this lap-top strap, as I keep typing. "One more time," and the pig noises come in after the orchestra. That's humorous.

13) Rocky Raccoon - I hate this song. It's such toss-off crap it probably would not have even made the Anthology album. But we will suffer it for the sake of this immortal blog. The bass notes are made how? Sound a little extended, loose. The hoe-down harmonica is over on the right. Nice drum asserting itself, with ragtime piano on the right only. "Doctor comes in, stinking of gin." Other voices come in toward the end, right only, then the ragtime reappears. It's just like it was recorded in Dodge City.

14) Don't Pass Me By - Ringo's turn to shine, which he immediately foregos. Wow, what a bad song, lyrically a meaningless mess, the hackish country vibe is an embarrassment, there's nothing good about it. The violin over on the right isn't so bad, if I may backtrack on my previous statement. I don't play bass but I think I could probably manage this song, like Johnny Cash's guy on guitar. "You were in a car crash and lost your hair." Oh boy, I think I'll play that next time I'm in the therapy you need before they give you hairplugs. Hey, I hear some counting over on the right I never heard before, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and some noises on the left I never heard before. Toward the end, right when the music gets a little lower. OK, it's over!

15) Why Don't We Do It In The Road? - Paul's solo effort. Not exactly a desert island track, unless we can strand it somewhere. I don't remember this song inspiring a lot of doing it in the road, and I've never liked it.

16) I Will - Beautiful bass notes sung, doo, doo, doo. Lovely song, sort of like "I'll Follow The Sun" in tone but not tune. It has a kind of tropical bongo over on the left. Pretty Paul keeper. Although it's interesting if you go by titles to have "I Will" follow "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?"

17) Julia - John's sweet Mom song, a little different from "Mother" on Plastic Ono Band. "A song of love, Julia." "Seashell eyes, windy smile." I like stuff like that, especially with Spring about here. It's time to go out and fall in love! If you can find that girl on the "It's A Beautiful Day" album, somewhere out there in the wind and breeze, she'll be the keeper. "Sleeping sand, silent cloud, touch me." Why can't songs like this save the world?

And that's the end of side two on the LP.

18) Birthday - Side 3 rages out of the gate with what was actually, I heard, a toss-off song, "Birthday," still played everyday on the radio somewhere in honor of people's birthdays. Strong drum, and extra counting in the background, hard to hear on speakers. Lots of party clapping. I think I heard they brought people in off the street to make noises to this song when they were recording it. It's fun fun fun, and lots of noises in the background, calls, shouts, asides. I definitely hear a female voice in there, which I thought Paul said they never had before Phil Spector got done with "A Long and Winding Road." Maybe he meant on an ongoing basis. Fun song to listen to, Birthday!

19) Yer Blues - Intense John song about dying and killing himself, lonely, not just tired this time. It has a very stark sound, tough edge to his voice. It does sound kind of like a bar combo playing live. Maybe this was more of an ensemble piece, I don't know. There's an echo on him, or maybe it's just pflanging at work. Is that Paul back there, singing a bit, on "Girl, you know the reason why?" "Feel so suicidal," with some of extra background talk, noises on left, before the guitars go uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh. Then a raw guitar solo, with a left counterpoint, less raw. Very abrupt end to the guitar, with drums and the verse sung in the background, which we've all heard on the speakers, but not well. Then it fades out without John ever coming again to the fore. Off to commit hari kari.

20) Mother Nature's Son - Paul with his "Martha" and "I Will" guitar. "Sitting, singing songs for everyone," Which I appreciate. Pretty sounds of music, flying, etc., similar to what I was saying about "Dear Prudence," but not with the same punch for me. The horns are all on the right, and a different guitar after the horn section. That's nice on the right.

21) Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me & My Monkey - I heard this was about John and Yoko, who I've actually come to really like BTW. Her album, "Yes, I'm A Witch," is great. This is going to have some background noises and voices, over on the left, hoots, hollers, voices bubbling just under the surface. Listen to it. It's like they flashed a "Recording - Please Make Noise" sign or something. "Make it easy" HOOT HOOT! He was right out there, I guess, with nothing to hide. A bunch of confused "Come on"'s. John cuts loose looooooose on this.

22) Sexy Sadie - Absolutely a great song, they say about the Maharishi, same number of syllables, and a good way to say he made a fool of them (from John's point of view, not mine) without saying his name/title. "You laid it down for all to see." This is such a spitting bitter song, I love it. Especially the "You'll get yours yet!" lines. That is wicked! Here comes a wicked bit, "However big you think you are, however big you think you are!" That's genius stuff, "You'll get your's yet!." It's The Beatles as victims, giving up everything they owned just to sit at his table. Beautiful bit on the "Latest and the greatest of them all." And "You made a fool" and "Sexy Sadie" a little more buried. This song is a treasure.

23) Helter Skelter - About a playground, amusement park ride, I've heard. But of course if you're a mass murderer, you might take it other ways! It's kind of intense, kind of menacing for such a playful description (amusement park.) The guitars are thick as mud, Paul's voice as rocked out as ever, ragged, raw, like heavy metal. I love Paul, really, but now that he's like all of us, old and mortal, sometimes we think of him like Pat Boone. Wow, there's a laugh I never heard before, and some extranea on the left earbud right about the same place. "Look out!!!!!!" "Comin' down fast!!!!" That was a very dangerous ride. Paul is singing closer to the mic. Talking on the right earbud at the end, a few snippets actually. Then the mud guitars come in for another menacing bow, and shrieking horns I've never noticed. And what next? It's going to fade back in, isn't it, and some guy is going to shout something about blisters on his fingers!! This track is chaos of the most inspired kind.

24) Long, Long, Long - Soft George track. I never think of this track when I think of the White Album. It's kind of buried in there and obscure. "So many tears I was searching." I don't even halfway know the lyrics to this one. I don't think I've ever intentionally listened to it before, you know, going, "I think I'll listen to 'Long, Long, Long.'" I didn't even remember it had three Long's in the title. So what's it? The instruments have a slight warble. Then a door creaks, and there's the new dawn of what?, a bunch of ghost crows escaping or something. It was nice enough.

I think we're at side four, with Revolution 1:

25) Revolution 1 - John says, "OK." Guitar is great, one of the Revolutions, different from the flip of "Hey Jude" but in a more loping, less distorted form. The lyrics of Revolution excluded the Beatles from violence and some of the left's more extreme political response to Vietnam, etc. The "bump, shooby doo wop" stuff puts this in the parody class, like what was going on with "Back in the U.S.S.R." A great song, which I actually like more in the Single Version. "You better free your mind instead. If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow." That's a slap at someone.

26) Honey Pie - Here we go. Paul's 78 rpm charmer, complete with surface noise there a bit. I actually like this kind of musical theater, London stage sound, which of course Paul was brought up hearing. Very sentimental, vaudeville, voodie-o-doh. You could play this track to your Grandpa (back then) [I never did] and say, "See, the Beatles are not so bad, eh, Grandpa?" And he puts his big earhorn up to it and next thing he's cutting the rug and maybe the mustard with Grams.

27) Savoy Truffle - This is one of my GO-TO songs on the White Album. I love it. A bunch of candies that will rot your teeth, with George's voice in amongst a bunch of streamlined, clipped, clean-as-a-whistle instruments. I heard some extra little voice stuff on the left earbud. And by the way, the vocals are not balanced here, but all to the right. That's a little unnerving. The guitar solo is as antiseptic and sharp as a razor. Turn it up and it'd split a drum, guaranteed. "What you eat you are, but what is sweet now turns so sour." Then a swat at "Ob-La-Di" and Da. "But you'll have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle!" I love this song.

28) Cry Baby Cry - John. This song is kind of like "Long, Long, Long" for relative obscurity. I've heard it a lot and basically know it but I don't. Vocals are balanced, with some sound effects buried under the vocal, and the "Cry Baby" refrain is over at the left, with an even more buried accompanying vocal on the right. Some harmony. Tagged on the end is a tune I thought I missed and I was going to have to check my Gigabeat to see if I'd left it off, "Can I Take Me Back?" Just a little bit of nothing. I think on the Anthology CD this tune doesn't even have a copyright credit, but don't quote me on that.

29) Revolution 9 - OK, here we go. I should have some coffee as I type this. This is going to be a long hard slog, though I listened to it one day and sort of enjoyed it. [I'm on PAUSE for all those who think I'm indeed live-blogging this. I just need to vent my spleen about this track a bit before I proceed.] This was never a favorite of mine. I have usually skipped it and decried its existence. I always hated having to go over and lift the needle and put it on the last song. This track if it was on the album should've been last, or a 45 stuck in as a bonus. But it's there. One thing about it, everyone's who heard it has remembered at least one little thing, "Number Nine." Anytime the word "Number Nine" comes up in conversation, someone, if there's anyone under 65 in the room, will say in that robotic music studio voice, "Number Nine." [Off Pause and to the track]:

The "Number Nine" is bouncing back and forth. Then some unearthly music clips, indeed clipped or reversed. Drums, like off a TV show. Muttering, confused, and John there clearly speaking, and George. I heard J & G were the only Beatles on this track. What can I say? It's a lot of rubbish, but there's some good little bits. A baby's voice, the number nine guy, and very little else. Like a mash-up of movie openings and closing. There's a "Riiiight" guy on the right, and a bell. Turn off and turn on whatever tape loop you happen to have. It's sort of a blog of sound. Here's George and John a bit more. And a guy going "Hoooo!" The track might really be a good soundtrack to the time, which wasn't as innocent as we always think the "past" was. People being killed, RFK, MLK, 1968, not in that order. Prague. LBJ. Vietnam. There's some protest sounds in the mix. John's voice is this low monotone dark voice. Shooting, suggesting a western. George is reading something about a night watchman. I check, only a minute 39 to go. "Take this brother, may it serve you well." Someone's watching TV, which sounds like Yoko. And a trebly section follows, like a frightening noise chamber. Let me out. "If you become naked." "Hold that line!," a protest bouncing back and forth between the tracks, as we close....

30) Good night - Beautiful Ringo warbler. I love this track. From the Anthology CDs we find there was a spoken bit before, as originally intended, or was that "Yellow Submarine"? Speaking of movie openings and closing (see above), this one definitely has a swelling Hollywood feel to it, except for the voice being the voice of Everyman and not a big Hollywood Starr (sorry). The trills and swells are swell indeed, and the girl voices back there in the mix. The music is so far and away over the top, I love it. Ringo's voice was just right for such a quirky, parody thing like this. Ringo whispers, as we all have heard, "Good night."

And with that we come to the end of side four!

The Beatles - The White Album

We've most of us all probably heard all the cliches (truth) about the White Album. It wasn't called the White Album, but The Beatles. It came out in Nov.-Dec. 1968 with individually numbered LP jackets. George Martin thought it would be better to boil it down to one record, with only the best tracks included. The Beatles did more individual work on tracks and less ensemble work. Some of the songs were conceived on their trip to India. Etc.

It's never been my favorite Beatles album. But it has some very great songs on it. I didn't have the album as a kid, which is true about most albums. There was some talk about John and Yoko's Two Virgins album right about that time (in the newspaper, maybe TV) and some confusion about the white cover of the Beatles' album, that they were one and the same thing, with the white covering the offending picture. I remember around Christmas time going by the local music store and seeing a whole bunch of the White Album stacked around in the window display. But my Dad had made a new rule, because of the nude picture and, going way back, part of the roots, John's statement about being more popular than Jesus. The new rule, "Never will a Beatles record be in my house," something like that.

I don't know if the rule held up perfectly. I never had money for such things anyway. So it was a few years after, and after I was moved out anyway, that I ever got the White Album. Then the one that was issued on white vinyl. And in the used record market, somewhere along the way, I ended up with 0927160. So if anyone out there has 59 or 61, we're White Album companions! Then when it came out on CD, I was in Kansas City and went to some obscure, out of the way record store that probably doesn't exist anymore, and they had the CD (2 CDs) for like $9.99. No kidding. I'm sure it about had to be a mistake, but I didn't say anything and the guy ringing it up didn't say anything, so I walked out thinking how lucky I was. The cover (first disc's cover) was also numbered, and mine is 323,946. So, again, if you happen to have 45 or 47, hey!

There ought to be a White Album registry on the internet. Maybe there is, where we keep track of where each number is!

I've had other White Album run-ins over the years, including various sessions, mono versions, McCartney talking about it, etc., on usenet. I just saw some "Blackbird" sessions on one of the newsgroups today, but I'm not that interested in collecting everything there is!

I always thought the 8-track of this album was kind of attractive, high-contrast B&W versions of the 4 portraits on a little 8-track label and on the box. The 8-track was two cartridges.

My next post will listening to the album on my Gigabeat and making a few comments. Of course I will not be able to avoid saying some of the things I've heard about the various tracks over the last 30 some years. One thing that is different, is I don't think I've ever listened to this whole album on headphones. And I was listening to a few tracks earlier and noticed hoots and talking, etc., that I don't recall just by listening with regular speakers.

So let me warble "Goodnight" to this post, and catch the next BOAC flight to Destination: Next Post!