Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Random Play: Someone's just outside, knocking at my door

This is what I like to call men's Seventies v-neck shirt music. To wit.

Jazz guitarist, uncredited sitter-in with Pink Floyd and purveyor of the Synthaxe, Lee Ritenour seems to be seems to be fairly reviled in most music quarters. Guessing from the sounds I'm sampling, this "true fusionist" probably laid the a lot of the sonic foundation for early Smooth Jazz radio.

I remember this track from the time it charted--probably from MTV, which apparently played this video on Day One. That's right, this guy was on MTV.

I dig this track because it sounds like taking a boat to Sausalito while drinking white wine in the late Seventies; or, rather, it sounds like Toto.

Also, his other album titles--Lee Ritenour's Gentle Thoughts and Captain Fingers, made me giggle.

Lee Ritenour - Is It You by PeteRock

Got no mass appeal.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Random Play: I've been doing some whining, now I'm doing some finding

Oh, what a delicate little gemstone the radio gave me today. Fluffy flakes fell outside my window, and these big, fluffy strings trilled and swooped. It's a composition by Denny Laine, formerly of The Moody Blues and futurely of Wings (with Paul McCartney), sung by Colin Blunstone, who also made "She's Not There" smooth as buttah for The Zombies. And Colin was clearly the teen lust receptacle for The Zombies, as this appearance on Hullabaloo shows.

I mean, I was shredding my voice and my wallet over some British boys with dramatic cheekbones and kissable lips (albeit covered in gloss) only two decades later.

Colin's still had a bit of the palpitation-causing intensity when he went solo in '72. At least I think so, today, in this tight room under a gray sky, hearing this precisely-cut voice.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Random Play: Never thought I'd fall again so easily

Some schmaltz from 1980 arises as soon as I turn on the radio this morning--and its long-forgotten provenance that I must've osmosed as a child who turned on the radio some morning then.

THEN you play "Starship Troopers" for me, Zenith? Sister Bluebird, look what you've done to me.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Random Play: Running over the same old ground

How do you make things new, every day, when days mimic each other, and especially when heading into the perpetually gray or low-light days?

Routines and not-routines. Finding the novel and embedding it in the regular, by seeing. And listening. And doing that again.

Is that growing?

At the very least it's (like) discovering something (new) on the radio.

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here by larsen42

It's getting to be what I like to call Pink Floyd weather. It has to be something about all the fading light that--you know what?--makes each day different. Huh.

Perhaps I should kick off the season with something new.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

You must be feeling what I'm feeling, too

Praise to satellite radio, which has been turning up some gems, particularly from the Studio 54 Radio and The Groove channels. There are definitely humans behind the programming, or at least I'd like to think so. Oh, no, they're not content with throwing some EWF and "Bad Mama Jama" and Thelma Houston with you. These cats dig deep. For instance:

Who are Brother To Brother? The Interwebs coughs up barely anything; they plied their trade mainly on dancefloors, and in the funky year of our flares 1976, they released an album (their second) that fit into but didn't spring out of the landscape. That year alone gave us this, and this, and, all bow down now, this.

BTB now reside with the other out-of-print  undead, lovingly preserved in (some) record store bins. And in drips and drops on Youtube. Mildly appreciated and now forgotten by all except the crate diggers and the platter spinners and those who research and celebrate.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Random Play: We'll go collecting the days

It's a new season, and time for a new feature. Just like old-school network teevee blithely rolling out comedy pilots chock-full of the forced laughter of tourist audiences--well, this won't be like that.

It's time to exploit my comfortable classic-rock radio listening, the Mr. Rodgers sweater I snuggle into as I work the work-job or continue to unpack the Matterhorn of boxes in my new home. I found a new station last month that has a diversity and homogeneity, all at once, that makes this task a breeze. It's Ireland-based, though most of the bumpers are, inexplicably, voiced in fake American accents. But you sense the source is over there since the station name is pronounced "ZEH-nith Classic Rock."

I'll pick something the radio plays, and treat it well.

(But it is all still a ploy to force me into writing consistently)

This track struck me at first today because I thought it was Carole King's "Jazzman." Then I heard that familiar 70s-radio brogue. "Year of the Cat" and "Time Passages" are two of drop-everything, turn-up-the-radio favorites, so it's no wonder I like this less familiar Al Stewart mellow journey, with its "How Long (Has This Been Going On)" bass line. Then there is the story of a man's sweet, persistent convincing of his love to his love.

Al spins a good yarn, subtly and gently; but in his younger years, when he basically knew or worked with everybody (Yoko to Andy Summers to Jimmy Page) who was anybody, his storytelling was less proportioned. To wit: the 18-minute title track from his second (1969) album, aptly named Love Chronicles, that details his first falling-in-loves and intimate escapades, replete with assignations in English gardens and bemoaning of "the bridge of impotence."

I think this track, though, is more my speed, for its radio length, even though it has the same happy-to-be-oversharing spirit--and is filtered through the cool composure of Alan Parsons.

Story rock managed by prog rock. Now that's true love.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm not ****ed, not quite

Today it's been a decade since Elliott Smith died. As I said at the time (or Stephanie did), you really have to want to go to go that way.

His fans are legion, and loyal. I came to the party (probably poor word choice there) late, absorbing every syllable and note of XO during my first year in Chicago. And later. And even later.

Is it the best break-up album ever? I say it's the best post- and post-post, and starting-to-feel-stronger-every-day-post- and wow-what-a-distant-memory-but-this-reminds-me-I-did-it post-breakup album.

I know the album is the death knell of...something, the dreaded major-label debut, but if anything, Elliott's Big Sellout gives him more tools to be even better. The production is not too much, and I think I have a pretty decent over-production bullsheet sensor.

Every track takes a mask off of betrayal and renewal. I'll ponder that more, after a visit to the online store.

It was hard to decide, but this one has always meant the most:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My answer is always the same

I was treated to the subtle and powerful songs of Bill Callahan Monday night. Flanked by winged bulls and the other decadent props of an overpriced Middle Eastern restaurant, he laid out this mesmerizing number.

Today I found out it's a cover of a soulful and decidedly and uncharacteristically (for the time) blues ballad from 1950 by Percy Mayfield, who is no relation to Curtis but was known for this exquisite song and for "Hit The Road Jack," which he provided to Ray Charles. After that, he sank into obscurity.

It's been covered by scads of other ballad crooners, from Sade to the Dead. I think these two, what is perhaps the most recent version bookended with the original, suit me fine.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

No more standing beside the walls

I enjoyed last Wednesday's show very much, but, holy hell, if these guys had unfurled this cover over all the white, college-English-major folk in that arena--well, I'd have made this post a week earlier.

This is one of my favorite songs, not to mention a top-two get-ass-on-dancefloor-NOW winner. Gaye's reluctant disco effort is lovingly detailed for posterity, and even if the party outside the song's perimeter was manufactured, hell, it was a good one. Plus--banging on bottles.

Of course, Gaye's easy-sound but fastidiously-made groove spawned some controversy some 36 years later, though I think nothing came of it (at least prior to Thicke's, erm, aided VMA rendition), and rightly so. I don't think a "groove" is an exclusive artistic form, and neither does this guy.

Maybe it's number one get-ass for me, come to think of it. I remember sprinting from the front door of the Artful Dodger to the postage-stamp dancefloor in back in record-crushing speed, and then letting this wash over me, surrounded by friends.

So if I have to experience this in a red box onscreen in order to relive that memory in my brain box, and to re-love this song, so be it.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Today's Shuffle: Til the evening is complete

A new commute means new sky and new trees to take in, and a revival of Shuffling off to work each weekday. I have a longer walk to and from transit, but, overall, a trip that isn't disjointed, like the previous decade has been, and is pleasant, even relaxed, at least so far.

Of course, don't let all of this tranquil repose indicate that this post is being posted on the day the Shuffling occurred--but within the week is fine when you're still pulling cookware and curtains out of boxes.

Here's how the first, almost-full week of a new journey began*:

Take It Away, Paul McCartney Tug of War
Not Turning Off, Spoon Telephono
Clean Money, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Armed Forces
Michael Jackson, Billie Jean Thriller
Talkin' 'bout Hey Love, De La Soul De La Soul Is Dead
Fooled Around And Fell In Love, Elvin Bishop Struttin' My Stuff
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn Hill  The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors, Radiohead Amnesiac
Hollywood Freaks, Beck Midnite Vultures
This Mess We're In, PJ Harvey Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
Journey To Arnhemland, Jamiroquai  The Return of the Space Cowboy 
Fleur de Lys, Julianna Hatfield Become What You Are
Troubled Girl, Karen Ramirez Sunlounge Sessions, Vol. 1 
Dig A Pony, The Beatles, Let It Be...Naked
West End Girls, Pet Shop Boys Please
Mariposita de Primavera, Omara Portuondo Buena Vista Social Club
Lady Grinning Soul, David Bowie Aladdin Sane

*most appropriately: with Macca

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Talkin' jivey, poison ivy

Have I found a new karaoke song? Or an end-of-workday catharsis?

This track achieves the triple crown of mid-70s hard rock: twin guitars, cowbell, and talk box.

It was also unwillingly titled, and it's that chorus that sails it over most other hairy, platform-and-flares yowling of that era. Plus, the band was named after a lyric from their heroes, The Band. And, Scottish? Cool. They were the Caledonian answer to Thin Lizzy.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Want it in writing

Takin' a ride
I'm in trouble
Favorite Thing
Hanging Downtown
I don't know - Buck Hill
Color me impressed
Tommy gets his tonsils out
Achin to be
Love you til Friday - Maybelline (Chuck Berry)
Merry go round
Wake up
Borstal breakout (Sham 69)
A little mascara
Left of the dial
Alex chilton
Swinging party
Kiss me on the bus
Waitress in the sky
I can't hardly wait
Bastards of young
Hold my life

Monday, September 09, 2013

I know a place

She was every bit as warm and majestic on Friday night as she is here. Now, of course, she has a throne.

I won't forget it for a long time. And I'll see Mavis every chance I can get.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Even if it makes others uncomfortable

I don't know how I missed this, but I did.


I'm not missing her again.

As each year goes by since I first saw her, I become more certain she is a Real-Deal Queen.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

When I feel like I'm winnin' when I'm losin again

Now, I always thought of this track as a lightweight gem, a moderately entertaining karaoke track--in fact, that latter characteristic reminds me of how utterly not fun the Hidden Cove karaoke bar up on Lincoln was. And probably still is. Someone close to me sang this track, but only after practically coming to blows with either another patron or the karaoke emcee in order to do it. Or the almost-blows came after he sang. I can't remember. All I know is, that place has some bad juju--and now I know that this song has some really bad juju.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I wish I could sing it to you

It's a long way from "Hard To Say I'm Sorry," and I'm okay with that. The 80s did things to people, me included.

So let's stretch back over that entire decade (and the one after) and go to the beginning, because beginnings are good.

The bass is super bad on this track, and, oh  man, check out the one-minute percussion breakdown at the end.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ain't lost yet so I gotta be a winner

I'm letting the Universe decide if I am going to get to do this next month. If I can get a ride back from the depths of western Wisconsin (the Minneapple, basically), then...and then...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Take away the pain and drink the wine

This brings me the exact amount of joy it did upon its first arrival in my senses. Furthermore, I believe The Swing was the first album I purchased as a high schooler, or at least as a rising one.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Today's Shuffle*: Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

*Internet Radio Edition

The video is cheesy, but I can't say no to sunset skies--especially when I won't be viewing any tonight as I head home from the workplace. Instead, I go to the theatre for a long-put-off event.

Thankfully, I remembered to remember this song about remembering before I rush off and (thankfully) shut down the machines for a night of liveness.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Viva L'Amore

Sometimes, this beach house music expresses the perfectest joy to me.

And the intertubes is a time-I-don't-have treasure trove of it. To wit, these guys have more.

Won't do no good thinking, you got to do it

You can have the machine-gunned "Simply Irresistible." I'll take this 1975 funky exhortation to not be afraid, to just do things, today and forever, off of an album I'm sticking in the repeat zone (and one that features what's probably my favorite reggae track ever).

I've always thought Robert Palmer was an underrated chameleon; about once a year I wonder what more he would have given us if he'd lived on.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away

I saw the fantastic 20 Feet From Stardom last night. I have no time nor space to enthuse at length about the film, which is about so many things, the foremost being that graceful, humble place of creating--in this case, singing a wondrous gift--for only the love of it, and the immaterial joy of being part of a harmonious whole.

But I will mention its most affecting--gutting, really--passage, which illustrates the impact of the egoless, identity-less voice--just a voice, not a personality--in music (which, of course, is the point of backup singing): the recounting of Merry Clayton's recording of the backing vocals on the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," you know, that passionate howling in what's more or less the bridge of the song. First of all, I didn't know that the lyric was actually "Rape...murder...it's just a shot away." Second, well--Merry, summoned from bed, shows up in curlers in the dead of night to yowl this lyric for some English boys she's never met (nor claims to have heard of, really, which is kind of hard to believe), and delivers more than anyone expected. We know what the song is about, or, at least, the ravaged ground in which it's rooted. In a the briefest time and with less than ten words, Merry's voice, ablaze, conveys what 1969 must have felt like to many. She's an oracle. 

And I couldn't like her more as she seems to be as a human being and artist, a champion combination of guts and humility. "I was kicking ass and taking names every time I opened my mouth."

It's a stunning scene in the film, watching her listen to that moment some forty-plus years before. Mick does, too. Listen to the isolated track embedded in this story of that night.

I'm digging into Merry's solo albums (she recorded a few in the early 70s, prior to raising a family and falling on harder times) today, and wishing I could find the video clip of her gut-ripping performance of  Neil Young's "Southern Man" as shown in the film.

Instead, listen to this, and imagine the woman who arrived after midnight, pregnant and in curlers, to shred the Sixties with her voice.

All she set out to do is simply sing, and by doing so, did so much more. As she says in the film, "Stay cool, stay humble, stay beautiful, and just do the work."

Friday, August 02, 2013

Lay back and groove with mine

I didn't know it then when I first ripped the shrink-wrap off of Thriller and put a needle down on it, but this--this--was where it was at. 

A true find--so said the Reckless Records clerk. 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Your Guilty Pleasure: Full stock of thoughts and dreams that scatter

You CANnot deny this groove.

It's from this album, the predecessor to the monster Private Eyes. I dig this track and the album's other hit, because they're really in the same family as the early croony, funky blockbusters, and they precede the movement (descent?) into total synth and mechanized drumland, aka the mid-80s.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

When the sun settles down and it takes a lovely form

I discovered this song back when I would bike to the lakefront with my now practically prehistoric mp3 player/radio combo on Sunday afternoons and would sit there and out at that sky/sea line and listen to Herb Kent The Cool Gent all afternoon, until the sun wasn't burning overhead anymore and the water turned into that unreal mercury color.

But it made me think of the end of the day someplace else, on my beloved Anna Maria Island, where we'd carry our gear (chairs, umbrella) and munitions (beer) to the beach after the burning peak of the day, at about 3, and live there--I mean live--until after sunset.

Each of those sunsets is still etched in my heart somewhere, after almost exactly a decade ago and two additional midsummer visits. The day trip a couple of years ago as March dawned was especially special because we brought new visitors with us.

There was a time that this song salved some wounds for me, on those long and solitary Sunday afternoons, and offered the inkling of the constancy of peace in one's heart. It places me there, in the heart, and at AMI with the people and place that I love, and reminds that the part of the day spent in that kind of peace, company and place, is what matters most.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Today's Shuffle: Everybody wants to look the other way

Periodically, this blog is about how I (still) like Sting when I shouldn't.

My return to Shuffle coughed up my favorite track from The Soul Cages, the tour of which I actually saw almost exactly twenty-two years ago. I managed to miss most of Don Henley, who opened (hah, post-punk rules!) that night at Alpine Valley. My roommates bought me a ticket for my birthday earlier in the summer and then set me up to travel to East Troy with some of their friends.

I haven't forgotten that show, mostly because someone had a reserved ticket stub and each person in the group (who the hell they were, I have no idea now) used it to travel into the rarefied air of the Reserved Covered Area. I made to row 8 and was able to get an up-close with a forty year-old and still incredibly hot Sting and his big ol' Doc Martens.

Now, of course, I look at the footage of it from my desk (and imagine not being able to comprehend that 22 years ago--I mean, did I know an Internet existed in 1991?) and see that Sting, as usual, positioned some incredible musicians from across genres to deploy his cross-genre music, his music that, in the immortal words of Branford Marsalis, "is a motherf*cker."

Love, Erykah Badu New Amerykah Part Two
Lithium, Nirvana Nevermind
Pass the Plugs, De La Soul De La Soul Is Dead
Pursuit of Happiness, Weekend Players Pursuit of Happiness
Ships Passing Through, Jimi Hendrix Valleys of Neptune
Everybody Wants The Same Thing, Scissor Sisters Ta-Dah
My Time, Kaskade It's You, It's Me
Summertime, Sarah Vaughn The Very Best of Sarah Vaughn
Uncountable (Feat. Tomomi Ukomori), Hideo Kobayashi A Drama
Fin, Supergrass Road To Rouen
Don't Lose Your Temper, XTC Black Sea
You Can Get It If You Really Want, Jimmy Cliff The Harder They Come
As, Stevie Wonder Songs In The Key Of Life
Baby Britain, Elliott Smith XO
Seen Your Video, The Replacements Let It Be
Bombers, Gary Numan The Pleasure Principle (30th Anniversary Edition)
Can I Get A Witness, Marvin Gaye Greatest Hits
Fire Island, Fire Island Hed Kandi: Back To Love - True Club Classics 2
West of Hollywood, Steely Dan Two Against Nature
Hoover Dam, Sugar Copper Blue
Jeremiah Blues, Sting The Soul Cages


I just found this, and, despite afternoon dyspepsia, I've become happy as a pig lolling in jazz-rock poo:

By the way, is Branford wearing the first iteration of a WHO DAT t-shirt, or what?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Now you've got me hopped up on that

I'll cast aside the problematic (and really, really obvious) metaphor, and the voice mechanization, and the crap quality of this clip, and and just roll around in the falsetto and the louche grandness of this song I can't get out of my head. JT's left town, and even though I didn't go, I've been waking up with this in mind every day since.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The silver moon and the evening time

The greatest cover artist of the 70s? Yes. A favorite from way, way back. Yes.

Oh, the sublimity of the E and Em, how she wrings it out!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A lesson to be learned.

Written, in response to a challenge, before having to go to the airport--a last-minute task wholly and unabashedly unrelated to a gotta-be-someplace deadline.

Just like I'd do. No wonder I've always liked this gentle sliver of a song.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Woke up and thought "This ain't exactly heaven"

This is a commemorative recommitment post. I will post. I will, I will! It's summer, after all, and if I have to sit at this screened box all day weekdays, when I am not gazing out of the window at the beckoning brightness, I should be rooting around in here.

I don't know why, but I woke up today determined to listen to The Specials. Being part of a super-nichey movement back when niches didn't really exist (at least not the way they do now) didn't preclude their political stance, one that's genuine despite the jump-up-and-down-at-the-party sound.

Ska just sounds like fun unlimited to me, at least.

So that's probably why I want to hear some, as midsummer peaks and more fun is on the horizon (or should be).

Saturday, June 29, 2013

So I shan't be concerned with the other side of the road

Thanks to Badu for this reminder.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Soulflower take me flying with you

Somehow--convenience or environment--I navigated to this on a short afternoon trip outside today, a puffy-clouded stunner. Now I know that this counts among my must-play start-of-summer-songs, the ones you play when the whole summer--and its possibilities--lay out before you like a lawn so fresh and warm it sparkles.You know it will be good, because it is inherently good, if only in the depth and amount of time, daylight time, it gives us--and you hope it will be better even beyond that wide-sky truth.

I think puff means something else here, but roll with it, roll with it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Looking good's a state of mind

This is a perennial favorite, and one that I hadn't thought of for some time until today, the roots of which spread deeply and unexpectedly.

See, a Swedish singer-songwriter-rapper turned Londoner (with a visual cameo in a Big Audio Dynamite video) scores a worldwide hit, gets robbed (literally) of a Grammy, records, performs and collaborates around the globe, and lands in indie-darling heaven (hell), file under Reinvention (but not).

I just think this is a great song. I scored a used copy of the CD and hung onto it for quite some time but eventually ditched it in some move or other. Nonetheless, I'm going to check out the recent outing, The Cherry Thing, toute suite.

And the performance in the clip is rad if only because she's strutting and fronting seven months pregnant on TOTP.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

We’ll take the road that leads down to the waterside

And set out on the journey.

Continued unbidden treasures from the soulful (in more ways than one) Gerry Rafferty.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You really pick me up

I discovered new favorite driving-around-in-and-all-over-LA music, and I didn't even have to bring cds to play in the rental car (which I didn't).

HOT 92.3 OLD SCHOOL did the job, and did it well.

And, thanks to this track, I discovered what that DOING! (or DOING-oing-oing) funk sound is.

I've got one in my Amazon Wish List right...now.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

There's someone on your shoulder

On the way to becoming the most re-posted track on this blog, when I hear it, as I did this morning when it came up on shuffle, I dearly wish I could do this on my birthday this year, too.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's almost like living a dream

Today, randomly, is about English bluesmen-at-heart who ended up being fleeting pop sensations in the States.

Chris Rea was playing on a jukebox last night, but he wasn't. It was just the Chris Rea of my imagination, or, rather, a late-career Gino Vannelli.

Chris Rea was not a smooth crooner at all, really. He wanted his blues influences and craggy voice to emerge from the crisp yacht-rock coating applied by Elton John's producer. He returned to his early goals only after surviving pancreatic cancer, including the same harrowing-sounding surgery that Steve Jobs had had.

Still, I like Rea's intimate little admonishment to a heartbroken girl."I'll buy your first good wine," he offers.

Creepy? Maybe--but this was 1978, after all.

Climax Blues Band is that workhorse that's been around since bellbottoms and now, somewhere, they play with a little gut (and a lot of guts) and some gray hair. (This is when I always think of walking down a street in downtown Asheville, NC one summer night in '01 or something during a festival and there, at the bottom of the road, was Foghat.) They got it right (ha) in '76 with a clomping, funky favorite (I thought "that lot" came from America, too, dude), and came back again in '80 with this couples-skate-only ballad that's so much more than that, including a band-buster that was only performed live once, karaoke-style, in an English pub in Clearwater, Florida. But what emerges from its crisp, yacht-rock coating, applied by an American producer (who gave us not just Styx, but Styx II and went on to crisp up Animotion with a Fairlight), is an unalloyed love song.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit

This was a post that's been sitting in draft form since November 2011. 

I'm sad that the reason that I found it today is that Richie Havens has passed.

This folk singer, purveyor of peace and possibly the best-known drawer-outer of a stand-in performance after his legendary three-hour set at Woodstock was an  inimitable interpreter of the most wonderful songs of the true rock era--some of them peerless treasures that probably shouldn't be touched by anybody save an older version of its creators.

And I dig that, a lot. Here is my first and foremost favorite:

Tremendous gifts, energy, passion. Tremendous.

Listen to the song--originally precise and clarion--tell me if Richie's diaphanous interpretation doesn't make you ache and want to see some open sky to wonder into.


I flit, I float, I fleetly flee. I fly. This is like when clouds scud (is that word ever used in any other context?) across the daytime sky at a good clip, you look out and see that, like a mechanically-moved backdrop on a scroll.

I'm going to make an effort to see Richie someday.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

You kick them when they fall down

Amateur Joke Day.

Bad jokes done badly by people who don't know how to be funny -- jokes that go on too long, or are funny for a nanosecond, or are generally not nuanced enough nor ever will be to land without making someone feel tricked or judged. Pranks (gawd, I hate 'em! I hate the word!) that are, as the person who has articulated everything I've said already elsewhere today about today, but in The Atlantic, points out, a "derivative of a derivative of a derivative."

And let's not even talk about the self-indulgent, not-entertaining wankery on the Internet.

Look, whether it's announcing a non-existent pregnancy or career change (I'm leaving for Japan to learn to make origami mice! Har! Har!) on social media,  or being sent to see lions washed at the Tower of London, it's not funny.

However, I could watch this one, like, for days.

Charm--and not harm--wins every time.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Your Guilty Pleasure: You told me to take this chance and learn the ways of love

High tenor gets me every damn time. El wrote this for Marvin Gaye, who left the Gordy label stable and, I guess, became unavailable to sing it. El clearly implies his love for Gaye in this track; he deploys that falsetto elsewhere, later.  I'd like to know if there is a deeper story behind El's hopeful early 80s composition, which doesn't have the artificial sheen of Smooth Jazz's 90s catapult.

Of course, my story with this song involves a pool out in the country in the languid sunset heat of August in Kentucky. I think I floated on a raft at some big barbeque party or other, as if in a womb of summer-at-home. 

As the sun has its place up in the sky...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Anything is possible.


Tears for Fears Sowing the Seeds of Love by Celtiemama

High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man
And the lovetrain rides from coast to coast
D.j.s the man we love the most
Could you be, could you be squeaky clean
And smash any hope of democracry ?
As the headline says you're free to choose
There's egg on your face and mud on your shoes
One of these days they're gonna call it the blues

And anything is possible when you're sowing the seeds of love
Anything is possible - sowing the seeds of love

I spy tears in thier eyes
They look to the skies for some kind of divine intervention
Food goes to waste !
So nice to eat, so nice to taste
Politician grannie with your high ideals
Have you no idea how the majority feels ?
So without love and a promise land
Were fools to the rules of a goverment plan
Kick out the style ! bring back the jam !

Sowing the seeds
The birds and the bees
My girlfriend and me in love

Feel the pain
Talk about it
If you're a worried man - then shout about it
Open hearts - feel about it
Open minds - think about it
Everyone - read about it
Everyone - scream about it !
Everyone - read about it, read about it
Read in the books in the crannies and the nooks there are books to read
Chorus !

(mr. england sowing the seeds of love)

Time to eat all your words
Swallow your pride
Open your eyes

High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man
And the lovetrain rides from coast to coast
Every minute of every hour - I love a sunflower
And I believe in lovepower, love power, lovepower !!!

Sowing the seeds
An end to need
And the politics of greed
With love

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

[Freedom Flight]

...for a wintry first spring sunset of the year, during which I can hear gulls crying about the cold as they circle over the lake...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Today's Shuffle: And lessons of the day on a blackboard night

Two-Day Shuffleganza! It took me two weeks to get back in the groove.

Oh, last week, I had such a beautiful list going, ready to transcribe--and then I clicked one too many clicks on the 'pod, and it vanished.

That was the start, I think, of getting in my way here and there over the last week. Wires crossed, assumptions made, poor transit decisions, words best left unspoken, fears cresting, so on.

I've had enough of that. Thus I post my list, because done is good enough, as my wise friend Robin looked into my eyes and told me when I spilled that I had a whole thesis ahead of me to write, and remember these words by the brilliant and who-gives-a fuck Bill Murray:
"Living life, the game of life, you can make it a lot more interesting if you make it a game for yourself. It's not a rehearsal. It's not practice. It's real. This life is real. This is the real thing, and if you can stay light and stay loose and stay relaxed, then you can play at the very highest level, in baseball or as a human being. …"
And that, friends, makes Shuffle what it is: the algorithm-powered ability to read into what you are hearing.

No--not read into. To believe.

Because, some days, when the train gets stuck in the tunnel and you're mired in the past-drenched much of your conditioned responses, you need some faith in a bigger thing--from a little, handheld thing.

The Police, Voices Inside My Head Zenyatta Mondatta
Beck, High Five (Rock The Catskills) Odelay
Rufus Wainwright, Rebel Prince Poses
Paul Westerberg, These Are The Days Eventually
Beastie Boys, Triple Trouble To The 5 Boroughs
Steely Dan, Your Gold Teeth II Katy Lied
The Smiths, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out The Queen Is Dead
The Rolling Stones, Can't You Hear Me Knocking Sticky Fingers
Beck, Lost Cause Sea Change
Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Big Boys Armed Forces
David Bowie, All the Madmen The Man Who Sold The World
Pixies, La La Love You Doolittle
Beck, New Round The Information
Seal, Dreaming In Metaphor Seal
Jamiroquai, Journey To Arnahemland The Return Of The Space Cowboy
Crowded House, Dr. Livingstone Afterglow
AC/DC, Hells Bells Back In Black
Chicane, Already There Far From The Maddening Crowd
Public Enemy, Welcome To The Terrordome Fear Of A Black Planet
Jamiroquai, Didgital Vibrations Traveling Without Moving
Beastie Boys, Bodhisattva Vow Ill Communication
Electric Light Orchestra, Wild West Hero All Over The World
Kaskade, All You Love Mysterious
Gary Numan, Random Demo Outtake The Pleasure Principle
Billy Joel, All You Wanna Do Is Dance Turnstiles
LCD Soundsystem, Tribulations LCD Soundsystem
Andre 3000, Hey Ya! The Love Below
Finn Brothers, Part of Me, Part of You Everyone Is Here
Public Enemy, Power To The People  Fear Of A Black Planet
The Kinks, Animal Farm The Village Green Preservation Society
Trip Shakespeare, Bachelorette Lulu
Joan As Police Woman, Human Condition The Deep Field
Crowded House, Fame Is Woodface
Madonna, Sorry Confessions On A Dancefloor

So I’ll leave the ways of making me be what I really don’t want to be

Saturday, March 09, 2013

May I crawl behind your eyes?

If I could go back someplace I never was, but was in proximity to, within a facsimile of, this would be on the list.

(Because, you know, there'd have to be a list.)

Monday, March 04, 2013

Bambi, it's better with a man oh, yeah


That's probably more guitar right there than I got in September, but, hell baby, beggars cannot be choosers.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I saw you long ago.

This song caught me a few months ago upon playing Brotherhood for the first time in forever. And, oh man, I played the hell out of this cassette.

Today I just realized that this, the concluding track, is my second favorite New Order song, and I know why I like it so very much.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thre's nothin' to it just say you wanna do it

I never realized someone named George from Florida sang this little gem. Despite the repeated plea for a "woman" to "take me in your arms," I had thought a lady sang this massive early disco hit, one that even inspired John Lennon.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

You used to be a stranger.

I think this emerged when I was not supposed to like New Order any more, the post-Factory era or what have you.

It's so gorgeous, though, and it has always made me feel happy and hopeful--because that's what New Order in the 90s--not the 80s, when they sounded propulsive and, well, regretful--did.

Just wait til tomorrow
I guess that's what they all say...

Friday, February 08, 2013

I love you-ooo, baby, oooowaaahhhhaah

Excerpts from a new creed, inspired by a clip provided by a friend who has known me long and well.

...We believe in the Holy Purple,
Prince, who gives it 2 U
Who proceeds from the Father and Son.
With the Father and Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Revolution.

We believe one funky, Dancetastic Church
We acknowledge The One
To lay down the groove
We look for the Godfather of Soul,
And to know when to hit it and quit.  

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Best of 2012: I Keep Thinking About A New Thing

My Completely Unsolicited, Utterly Belated, Entirely Unnecessary, Wholly Egocentric Best Of 2012 List:

1. Field Music, Plumb

I have routinely walked, glassy-eyed-stumbled, faintly perceived while troubled on a bus, scurried to pick up lunch under a wild sky, bracingly trekked by lake, belted aloud with, felt in my soul this album for a solid year, February to February.

And it's the best thing I heard all year.

And so the/my best tracks, in ascending order:

Monday, February 04, 2013

Today's Shuffle: I know I know I know

Shuffle, my friend, you've been scurrying down a strange street during the last week, so much so that I've not wanted to record your steps.

New week, new day (and possibly a mid-run meltdown yesterday) have righted your navigation.

Blondie, Heart of Glass Parallel Lines
Beastie Boys, Nonstop Disco Powerpack Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Sting, They Dance Alone Nothing Like The Sun
Sentenced, Suffocated Beginning of Life Cafe Mambo Ibiza 2006
Nirvana, Rape Me In Utero
Me'Shell Ndegeocello, The Way Peace Beyond Passion
Andre 3000, Happy Valentine's Day The Love Below
Michael Jackson, Wanna Be Startin' Something Thriller
Chaka Khan, Never Miss The Water I'm Every Woman: The Best of Chaka Khan
Iron and Wine, The Rooster Moans The Creek Drank the Cradle
Roxy Music, The Main Thing Avalon
Jose Gonzalez, Killing For Love In Our Nature
Sam Cooke, You Send Me Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964: Sam Cooke

I don't think I need to say more than that I've been thinking about Sam Cooke since yesterday afternoon.


Your Guilty Pleasure: I'll give you all that you need

I've always been a fan of this one (love the dresses, ladies), and research shows that I'd better get around to seeing Love, Actually since it's continually recommended to me (and because I'm not going to take time now or ever to find out what "Girls Aloud" is). And I need it for some research for that show of mine that I've had in mind for so long and that just may be--finally--coming together.

Otherwise, I've always adored this song and had every leap in the video memorized since my eyeballs were glued to MTV daily during the summer of 1984 (particularly during nap times when babysitting) to sate my by-then-full-blown Duran Duran obsession. I'd probably--and with much ecstasy--discovered and purchased this book in the Fayette Mall Waldenbooks by the time "Jump (For My Love" hit the top of everything in July.

So a random tune-in to Internet radio this morning produced this, just randomly as if I had planted myself in front of Kathleen and Steve's Zenith to scan for Duran.

However, today, I don't need to see what I thought I was seeking after all--it's right here, in front of me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Your Guilty Pleasure: Hang a sign upon the door

Oh, it's back.

And this is a YGP in, like, triplicate, since the men behind the music in The System created the synth arrangement and programming for some big hits circa 1983-85. I submit (with absolutely no authority) that, without these guys, we wouldn't have had Tony! Toni! Tone! 

I've always loved this song (a familiar refrain); I remember hearing it while in a swimming pool at a family and friends-of-family bbq party in somewhere out in the country on the way to Richmond from Lexington. The lush synths, the detail (which is why they were called in by the big guns), the...groove.

I love how the video (or its initial scene) was clearly inspired by the metaphor of hanging a Do Not Disturb sign. Yeah, let's have the guys playing the song in a hotel room, just set them up with a microphone and whatever that keyboard/stick thing is.

Oh, 1986, you were so simple. You were, too 1990

And the feeling's so real.

(Also: this video and song makes me want to totally 1986 my hair one day for the hell of it, now that I have bangs again for the first time since then. I think with enough product I can get them to make that cascade I was always trying to get them to do.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Make me understand.


The best I got was watching video of JB (and it was what I believe is, or included, this particular concert/clip; I remember the red suit) with my parents under a tent during a rainy afternoon stroll through Blues Fest in Grant Park. Of all the performances at the festival, his--on a shitty teevee screen--was the one we lingered longest to see.

Anyway: this

is focusing on the future, so that I shall do.

All things grow.

Surprising play on Internet radio station today. This is really the only SS song that I remotely care for--but it is gorgeous and germane.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

With a thousand smiles she gives to me free

This was the first music I heard today, so it struck me full-force how much I love it. Even when sitting in that legs-dangling middle seat at the back of the bus.

In fact, it's even better from there, because you can see the steam rising from all the tall peaks of your city, and the sun filtering through that, and geese arcing through both that steam and sunshine, and the river winks a thousand times at you, there in your seat, legs dangling, on the 72 bus.

And, for the record, I will never, ever care that Sting is not what he once was. Or is allegedly not what he once was. I have seem him perform three times in two different decades, and the man will music your face off. I don't care that his recent and current output is primarily heard in TJ Maxx and that he seems to perform only in Italian castles or has been adopted by PBS pledge drives as pledge-driving programming.

And I have to add this album to my still-as-yet-unplayed-but-growing vinyl collection.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Today's Shuffle: I'm movin' past the feeling and into the night

Wherein (once again) I respond to Shuffle:

Neil Young, Broken Arrow Decade
This track led me to an interview at Neil's Broken Arrow Ranch--where I can finally see the damn Lionel trains and maybe get back into his memoir that I started at Christmastime.

Angie Stone, Come Home (Live With Me) Stone Love
A beautiful thought about moving forward from the past. Not so sure about the headspace girl is in when she's singing it.

Sweetback, Round & Round Stage 2
Once again, Sade's backing band. I need to play this album all the way through this week.

Mary J. Blige, Not Looking Mary
I'm not looking for no player shit.

Royaal, I Ain't Stoppin' (feat. All Rize) Hed Kandi World Series Miami
If I lived another life, I'd be at all of these (now designated as EDM) events, the biggest of which in the States appear to happen in Miami. Ultimately, the lifestyle that goes with this music is a bit too shallow. Or I'm a bit too much of the cynical generation to be in the jet set.

Alex Dolby, Hazy Way Hernán Cattáneo Renaissance: The Masters 
One of my favorite running songs, especially suited to night or sunless days.

Electric Light Orchestra, Telephone Line All Over the World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra 
I always think of this observation when this song comes on. (Gawd, I am self-referencing). Funny, though, since today I noticed that the work phone system has new feature whereby I'm notified by email of the crazies who call every 15-30 minutes and don't leave a voicemail.

Paul Westerberg, Good Day Eventually
Paul remembers Bob.
The Roots & Cody Chestnutt, The Seed (2.0) Phrenology
One of Kerri's favorites!

Missy Elliott, Work It Under Construction
Ahem. I like Missy, and this track is one of her best.What happened to her? I like the manifesto at the end of the album version. It's hip-hop, man, this is hip-hop.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The World And His Wife Punch The Clock
...followed by the world's worst Elvis Costello song. Sorry, but he has one, and this Shuffle is insistent on playing me every track from Punch The Clock, my least favorite EC album. I mean, I like Goodbye Cruel World better.
LCD Soundsystem, Beat Connection LCD Soundsystem
That's it. The LCDS is coming off the 'pod. You've tried one too many times to get me to care. SKIP.
The Jam, Smithers-Jones Extras: A Collection of Rarities
Oh! That cruel turn at the end! There's no longer a position for you! Sorry, Smithers-Jones. Work and work and work til you die.
Led Zeppelin, Immigrant Song  Led Zeppelin III
What the---did Youtube change the rules or is there a dispensation for honoring a Kennedy Center Honoree? In any case, watch this. It was silenced for four years. SILENCED.
Smashing Pumpkins, Soma Siamese Dream
Not in the mood. SKIP.
Fleetwood Mac, Gold Dust Woman Rumours
Pick up the pieces and go home

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs The Suburbs
Sometimes I can't believe it.