Monday, July 23, 2007

328. The Dictators - Go Girl Crazy! (1975)

















Track Listing

1. Next Big Thing
2. I Got You Babe
3. Back to Africa
4. Master Race Rock
5. Teengenerate
6. California Sun
7. Two Tub Man
8. Weekend
9. (I Live for) Cars and Girls

Review

Intelligent? No. Adult? Certainly Not. Politically Correct? Nope. Insightful? Not Really. Musically accomplished? Not that much. Fun? Yep.

The Dictators bring us an interesting album which is prefiguring a lot of what was to come in terms of punk and generally young people music. It all has a veneer of frat boy music, with a little more than a hit of the Beasty Boys both in lyrical content and in the voice of Manitoba. We saw that the New York Dolls were pretty close to punk, but they were still too smart, all those pretences are dropped here, and the Ramones and Pistols would thank them immensely.

But more than anything this is a very funny and fun album, the music is singa-longable, the riffs are great and it is all thouroughly enjoyable silliness. Even the tracks which look scary at first sight like Back to Africa and Master Race Rock are actually nothing serious or racist, Back To Africa's chorus is "I want to go Back to Africa" and the Master Race Rock seems to be about healthy living snobbery, if we take into account the fact that most of the members were Jewish it all makes more sense as a put on.

So a fun but ultimately inconsequential album which deserves its place in the list because of the fact that it opened the doors wide for this type of beer guzzling, girls, cars and surf music for the punk generation. So, good on them. Get it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Master Race Rock
2. The Next Big Thing
3. I Live For (Cars And Girls)
4. California Sun

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Dictators are represented in the "Punk Wing" of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, in Cleveland, Ohio. Steven Van Zandt called them"The connective tissue between the eras of The MC5, Stooges, NY Dolls, and the punk explosion of the mid to late 70's".

The Next Big Thing, in 2006 at CBGB's:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

327. Brian Eno - Another Green World (1975)
















Track Listing


1. Sky Saw
2. Over Fire Island
3. St Elmo's Fire
4. In Dark Trees
5. Big Ship
6. I'll Come Running
7. Another Green World
8. Sombre Reptiles
9. Little Fishes
10. Golden Hours
11. Becalmed
12. Zawinful/Lava
13. Everything Merges With The Night
14. Spirits Drifting

Review

So it's another Brian Eno album, and I am going to gush again so you can skip the review down to the 10/10 now if you want. I am such a Brian Eno fanboy it is not even funny. So, yes, Another Green World, Eno goes more seriously into the concept of ambient music than before, he wasn't the first, you had Tangerine Dream here doing ambient before, but you just need to listen to the two albums side by side to get an idea of qualitative difference.

Perfection is a difficult word to use to any music, but here each and every individual track is perfect, the sung tracks as well as the pure ambient tracks. This is not to say that the album gels perfectly, but that each little cell that composes it is a gem.

Interestingly Eno is not going for one kind of ambient in his music, this isn't composed of 20 minute long tracks of cold and snowy soundscapes, these are little vignettes of ambient, each creating a different mood and soundscape in your mind, actually it is quite easy to figure out what they are by the track titles, as the tracks do exactly what it says in the tin. In Dark Trees sounds like a dark forest at night, while actually having no captured sounds of birds or anything, it doesn't work at a cerebral level it just evokes that exact emotion of being in a dark forest at night, with a train whistling in the background.

This is beautiful, ground breaking and so expertly done that it is a mark of genius, this would be extensively influential and from the first second of the album in Sky Saw you can see where David Bowie will be getting his sounds later in the decade, with the help of Eno. One experience I had a few years ago was walking through the deserted streets of Evora, my home town, at night with this on my mp3 player, and you just look at everything differently, you feel like an alien just arrived here, it is eerie, and amazing. Oh and Sigur Ros made a whole career around The Big Ship as well, so get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. St. Elmo's Fire
2. The Big Ship
3. In Dark Trees
4. I'll Come Running

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Critically acclaimed, the album marks a fundamental shift in Eno's musical expression, farther away from conventional song structure than ever before, and increasingly bizarre and iconoclastic. This inevitably made the album less mainstream, and to some listeners less accessible, than his previous work.

The album has fourteen tracks and only five with vocals. Many of these tracks laid the foundation for Eno’s future ambient career. Much of the album is accented by a mixture of an array of sounds mixed in the far background. The musical textures have been cited as a significant influence on David Bowie's 'Berlin Trilogy' (1977-79), upon which Eno collaborated.

Though the album begins with a harsh, aggressive piece titled "Sky Saw", most of this album has a gentler approach than Eno’s previous works. The atmosphere is an unusual combination of whimsical humour and melancholy serenity, sometimes on the same track.

"St. Elmo's Fire," one of the tracks featuring Eno on vocals, showcases a guitar solo by Robert Fripp, frequently cited as one of the most melodic and beautiful of his career. In the liner notes for the track, Fripp is said to play the "Wimshurst guitar"; an example of Eno's use of descriptive names for instruments used - Eno likened Fripp's solo to the way sparks jump between the electrodes of the Wimshurst Machine generator. Elsewhere Fripp is described as playing "Wimborne guitar" on the track "Golden Hours," a joke on Fripp's birth in Wimbourne, England.

"Zawinul/Lava" is an instrumental piece with piano, fretless bass and percussion. It reflects a sparse, airy atmosphere similar to Eno’s later album Ambient 1/Music for Airports.

The title track is famous in the UK as the theme music for the BBC TV arts series Arena.

Pitchfork Media ranked the album number ten on their Top 100 Albums of the 1970s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 433 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

An Amateur Motion Sickness Video to the sound of St. Elmo's Fire:

Friday, July 20, 2007

326. Gram Parsons - Grievous Angel (1974)
















Track Listing

1. Return of the Grievous Angel
2. Hearts on Fire
3. I Can't Dance
4. Brass Buttons
5. $1000 Wedding
6. Cash on the Barrelhead
7. Hickory Wind
8. Love Hurts
9. Ooh Las Vegas
10. In My Hour of Darkness

Review

Gram Parsons is so usually lauded as a genius that I sometimes think there is something wrong with me for not agreeing. This is a perfectly good album, it's good country and sounds quite modern because of Gram's good use of rock elements which helped create the modern country music sound. Still this is far removed from genius, surely some people have the same opinion of Brian Eno, but I probably just don't get Gram Parsons.

That said, this is a pretty good country-rock album, the songs are catchy and soon you will be singing along to it. The arrangements are great but more importantly you have Emmylou Harris here which really brings the album together, in fact the tracks where she is featured are by far the best tracks in the album, when it is just Gram it seems to lose something.

Really there is not much to say about this album, except that if it wasn't for the fact that Gram died young no one would be talking about him today... possibly. Secondly he opened the door to some really crappy music, but it wasn't his fault, he was good, just not spectacular. So get this album from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Love Hurts
2. $1000 Wedding
3. Ooh Las Vegas
4. Return Of The Grievous Angel

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The released album almost certainly deviates from the intended track listing Parsons had. Parsons' widow, Gretchen, who never cared for Harris' relationship with her husband, moved her originally prominent presence on the original front cover of the album (the album being credited on that cover to "Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris" and featuring a photograph of the two of them) and relegated her to a simple credit on the back cover. Additionally, the widow Parsons removed the original title track, "Sleepless Nights" and replaced the cover she despised with a simple image of Parsons in a sea of blue. The rearranged album was released in January 1974.

The three tracks recorded during the sessions that had gone unreleased, "Sleepless Nights", "The Angels Rejoiced in Heaven Last Night" and "Brand New Heartache", were released on the posthumous 1976 Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers album Sleepless Nights.



Emmylou tries to explain to us why Gram was such a great bloke:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

325. Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom (1974)
















Track Listing

1. Sea Song
2. A Last Straw
3. Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road
4. Alifib
5. Alife
6. Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road

Review

And now for something completely different. Wow this is a strange album, but fortunately also a strangely compelling one. It is at the same time very weird and very beautiful, very abstract and very affecting. Although there seem to be 6 tracks here there are only really 4 independent songs, the Alifib and Alifie are really the same song only performed in very different ways which are complementary and the Robin and Riding Hood are two faces of the same coin again.

Actually the album revels in its strangeness so much that the weirder the track the better it is here, the first two tracks are the most "poppy" if you could call any of this pop, and even though they are beautiful they are also the weakest tracks in the bunch. For the rest of the album Wyatt manages to do something almost impossible, marry almost nonsensical lyrics to music derived from Krautrock and Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and make something beautiful.

Wyatt makes one of the most perfect art-rock-jazz-experimentalia albums in here, light years form anything done with Soft Machine, he has grown as a person, ditched the pretentious lyrics for gibberish and toned down the sound into the sublime. A truly innovative and beautiful album, which is something you don't get everyday. So get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road
2. Alifib
3. Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road
4. Alifie

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Preparations were under way for a third Matching Mole album — probably featuring earlier versions of some songs which ended up on this record, such as "Sea Song" — when, during the course of a raucous party on the night of 1 July 1973, Wyatt drunkenly fell from a fourth-floor window and was seriously injured, permanently losing the use of his legs. Forced by the accident to give up the drums, Wyatt abandoned the Matching Mole project and instead changed the project into a solo album featuring more vocals from Wyatt himself; his time in hospital recuperating from the accident was spent refining and completing the songs which would form the Rock Bottom album. Although the music itself is intense and often harrowing, and the lyrics to the songs are dense and obviously deeply personal, Wyatt has denied that this was a result of the accident and the long period of recuperation. Indeed, much of the album had been written in Venice in early 1973, where his partner and future wife the poet Alfreda Benge was working as an assistant editor on Nicolas Roeg's similarly haunting and intense film "Don't Look Now".[2]

Enlisting friends and luminaries such as Fred Frith, Ivor Cutler and Pink Floyd's Nick Mason (who would end up producing the album), Wyatt recorded the bulk of the album shortly after his release from hospital and it was released to great critical acclaim in the summer of 1974. Cutler's performance (reciting a semi-nonsensical narrative halfway through "Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road" and intoning the same poem in a flat baritone voice at the end of "Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road" to close the album) was marked out for particular acclaim, and resulted in his being offered a three-album deal with Virgin Records.

The finished album contained six songs, some of which have more traditional song structures (for instance the opening "Sea Song" or "Alifib"), while others are less defined, more expressionist pieces showing more of a jazz influence (as in "Alife", or the album's centrepiece "Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road"); the latter, featuring an insistent uptempo rhythm, jazz trumpet and reversed tape effects, is reminiscent in places of the Miles Davis album Bitches Brew. Side two starts with a medley of sorts ("Alifib/Alife"), with Wyatt first singing and then disjointedly reciting a set of lyrics apparently dedicated to Alfreda Benge, who herself replies with her own vocal retort at the end of "Alifib". The LP closer, "Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road", is divided into two parts; the first is a melodic progressive rock song featuring prominent electric guitars and a chant-like vocal refrain, while the second part — bearing no resemblance to the first — features only a droning harmonium, harshly-scraped violin and guest vocalist Ivor Cutler flatly reciting bizarre lyrics.

Sea Song:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

324. Bob Marley And The Wailers - Natty Dread (1974)

















Track Listing

1. Lively Up Yourself
2. No Woman No Cry
3. Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
4. Rebel Music (3 O'clock Roadblock)
5. So Jah Seh
6. Natty Dread
7. Bend Down Low
8. Talkin' Blues
9. Revolution


Review

Who doesn't love a bit of reggae? People with no sense of rhythm that's who. Fortunately even though I am white I do have a sense of rhythm, which is not to say that I can dance, but I can wiggle to the beat. So I do enjoy the Reggae one in a while. And this is one of the great Reggae albums.

Mr. Marley brings us another great album, although quite a different from the previous Catch A Fire, I wouldn't say it is necessarily better, but it is different. Unfortunately Peter Tosh is out of the picture and he was one of the great things about the previous album, but Marley has more of a pop sensibility, is angrier and has gotten an excellent backing band as well as backing vocals, so all is not lost.

One of the great things about this album is how angry it is, Them Belly Full, Talkin' Blues and Revolution are great examples of this, and even though no one would claim that Bob Marley music makes kids violent, he actually advocates bombing churches at one point... probably getting low on the ganja. Again Marley brings us supremely socially aware music, which is at the same time angry and fun to listen to, almost a paradox, but the truth is that is is easy to dance around to Them Belly Full although it is a song about hunger and angry mobs rising against those who keep mobs hungry. Get it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. No Woman No Cry
2. Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
3. Talkin' Blues
4. Rebel Music (3 O'clock Roadblock)

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Like most reggae from the time, Natty Dread is a spiritually charged political and social statement. It opens with a blues-influenced celebration of the Rastafari movement, "Lively Up Yourself", which Marley used to open many of his concerts, in order to get the audience worked up; American R&B star Prince used it for the same purpose. "No Woman, No Cry", the second track, is probably the best known recording on the album. It is a nostalgic remembrance of growing up in the impoverished streets of Trenchtown, and the happiness brought by the company of friends. The song has been performed by artists as diverse as Pearl Jam, Jimmy Buffett and Rancid. Songwriting credit for "No Woman, No Cry" went to V. Ford. Ford, better known as Tartar to his friends and neighbors, had been a kind friend of Marley as a child in Trench Town, the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica. Marley claimed he would have starved to death on several occasions as a child if not for the aid of Tartar.

"Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)" is a warning against allowing a nation's poor to go hungry, with the prophetic warning "a hungry mob is an angry mob" (the song is reportedly dedicated to newly-elected Democratic Socialist Michael Manley), while "Talkin' Blues" and "Revolution" go deeper into controversial political commentary. "Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)" is a reflection on the potential impact of reggae music on Jamaican society. The song was written after Marley had been stopped by a night-time police carcheck. The influence of Marley's increasing devotion to Rastafari can be heard in religious-themed songs like "So Jah Seh", "Natty Dread" and "Lively Up Yourself", while Marley's reputation as a romantic is confirmed with smooth, seductive songs like "Bend Down Low". The title track of the album takes its title from an idealised personification of the Rastafari movement, Natty Dread

In 2003, the album was ranked number 182 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.


Them Belly Full (But We Hungry):

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

323. Randy Newman - Good Old Boys (1974)

















Track Listing

1. Rednecks
2. Birmingham
3. Marie
4. Mr President (Have Pity On The Working Man)
5. Guilty
6. Louisiana 1927
7. Every Man A King
8. Kingfish
9. Naked Man
10. Wedding In Cherokee County
11. Back On My Feet Again
12. Rollin'

Review

Well this album keeps many of the stuff I like of Randy Newman, but it is simply not as great as Sail Away. It is still funny, offensive and beautiful and Randy still shows that he has a completely unique way with musical arrangements. Unfortunately that ratio of unforgettable songs is lower here than in Sail Away.

The album starts off great with Rednecks, a politically sensitive piece which is also tremendously offensive. In this song Randy actually shows that rednecks are not the only ones and I quote "putting the niggers down", that liberal America, while pointing and laughing at rednecks pretty much does the same thing except instead of lynching they have more advanced methods of putting black people in jail.

So even though a superficial assessment of this might look like a liberal Jew taking jabs at the South it is really none of that. Newman takes jabs to everyone, and he is also very tender to the South and shows how that land was neglected and mistreated by the wider US, Louisiana 1927 is a good example of this, and is strangely resonant with the Katrina debacle. Firefox doesn't like the word debacle, and it seems to want me to write barnacled... so the Katrina barnacled. Can't a guy use pretentious French expressions? Sheesh.

It is still a good album, but not a perfect one, get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Rednecks
2. Louisiana 1927
3. Marie
4. Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

From the time of its release, critics have always loved Good Old Boys: it is frequently seen as one of the most essential singer/songwriter albums of all time. Robert Christgau gave it an A rating, and the 1992 Rolling Stone Album Guide gave it the full 5 stars. In 2003, the album was ranked number 393 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Musicians have also admired it, most notably Elvis Costello.

It was Newman's first album to obtain major commercial success, for after his previous two albums had barely dented the Billboard Top 200, Good Old Boys climbed so consistently upon release that it spent two weeks in the Top 40 late in 1974, despite the absence of a single to promote it. In all it spent 21 weeks in the Billboard Top 200 and remains Newman's second-highest charting album. It also earned a gold record in Holland.

Rednecks NSFW due to the N word, yes you got it Nurse:

Monday, July 16, 2007

322. Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic (1974)

















Track Listing

1. Rikki Don't Lose That Number
2. Night By Night
3. Any Major Dude Will Tell You
4. Barrytown
5. East St Louis Toodle Oo
6. Parker's Band
7. Thru With Buzz
8. Pretzel Logic
9. With A Gun
10. Charlie Freak
11. Monkey In Your Soul

Review

Steely Dan, even though they are a band that hasn't blown my head off like new discoveries such as Sparks or Scott Walker has shown a consistent level of very high quality in their music. And fortunately it is not only quality, it is also fun, innovation and smarts and all these together are a great thing.

This album is no exception, the way in which the music effortlessly moves from pop, to jazz to rock to ragtime some times in the same track is pure joy. This is added to a great capacity to create extremely listenable music, which is catchy and fun while hiding big depths. The thing about Steely Dan is that at first they are actually quite easy to dismiss as just another slightly tongue in cheek AOR band, like 10cc or Chicago, but repeated listenings are infinitely more rewarding than those that you get with those bands.

The Steely Dan albums that have been reviewed until now, even though they are immediately accessible, slowly seep into your mind and reveal things you'd never noticed, either it's a sentence or a particular musical shift or melody there is always something there to give you some pleasure. This type of heavy texture is hard to do without sounding too pretentious or cerebral, but Steely Dan manage. So, get this at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. With A Gun
2. Barrytown
3. Pretzel Logic
4. Rikki Don't Lose That Number

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album's opening song, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", became the band's biggest hit, reaching #4 on the charts soon after the release of the album. The album itself went gold, reaching #8 on the charts. The album was also highly regarded critically, appearing near the top of several end-of-year polls including the number one slot on the NME critics' poll and the number two spot on both Robert Christgau and the Village Voice end-of-year lists.

Steely Dan was still considered a true “group” at the time this, their third album, was released (in addition to core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, guitarists Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Denny Dias as well as multi-instrumentalist Victor Feldman had appeared on both previous Steely Dan releases along with a host of session aces; all five appeared on the inside cover of the album). The tour supporting this album would be the last time any version of Steely Dan appeared live until decades later, as Becker and Fagen's disillusionment with live performance during the tour would lead both to an end to such performance and a disbanding of the Steely Dan lineup. Much of this disillusionment was due to audiences' lack of reception of more complex material. This would lead Becker and Fagen to move to being a studio duo with varied backing on following albums, still under the name Steely Dan.

Something of a compromise between the tight pop of the band's 1972 debut Can't Buy a Thrill and the extended instrumental explorations of 1973’s Countdown to Ecstasy, Pretzel Logic included some of the most sophisticated pop music ever committed to vinyl and was unlike anything else on the radio in 1974.

One of the standout tracks, "Parker's Band," was a tribute to legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.

Initial versions of the Remastered CD issue contained an abridged version of Rikki Don't Lose That Number. This has been corrected on subsequent pressings.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 385 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.


With A Gun, forgive the crappy video:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

321. Gene Clark - No Other (1974)
















Track Listing

1. Life's Greatest Fool
2. Silver Raven
3. No Other
4. Strength Of Strings
5. From A Silver Phial
6. Some Misunderstanding
7. True One, The
8. Lady Of The North

Review

This album is pretty infamous as one of the most expensive follies of all times. But as you listen to it you realise that it isn't that much of a folly. It is a very well crafted album of folk-rock music, that although it could be much better for all the money that was spent on it is still a pretty good listen.

I am not a huge fan of Gene Clark, or the Byrds for that matter, I like them well enough but the previous Gene Clark album on the list, White Light, really didn't blow my socks off. In relation to that album this one is a much superior work, the adding of a gospel choir is a really good thing, although it seems to be a bit derivative of Stephen Stills work.

That said, this album was not a waste of money, the world is richer for it, I actually was already familiar with one of the tracks on it, Strength of Strings from a This Mortal Coil album, so although it is still a pretty obscure album it is certainly influential and actually pretty good. Get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights


1. Strength of Strings
2. No Other
3. Some Misunderstanding
4. Silver Raven

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Contrary to rumors that many of the album's songs were conceived under the influence of mescaline and other ilicit chemicals, Clark's wife Carlie stated in Mr. Tambourine Man: The Story Of the Byrds' Gene Clark that he was sober throughout the Mendocino years and was disinclined to experiment for the sake of his children. Living up to the "hillbilly Shakespeare" moniker accorded him by former bandmate John York, the "weighty" and ponderous nature of most of his lyrics from the period were drawn from his Christian upbringing and discussions regarding Carlos Castaneda, Theosophy and Zen with his wife and friends like David Carradine and Dennis Hopper.

Silver Raven By Gene Clark:

320. George Jones - The Grand Tour (1974)
















Track Listing

1. Grand Tour
2. Darlin'
3. Pass Me By (If You're Only Passing Through)
4. She'll Love the One She's With
5. Once You've Had the Best
6. Weatherman
7. Borrowed Angel
8. She Told Me So
9. Mary Don't Go 'Round
10. Who Will I Be Loving Now
11. Our Private Life

Review

This is actually not a bad Country album, but the first time you hear it, if you are like me, you will be tremendously unimpressed by it. It sounds just like any other Country music album the first time you hear it. After a couple of time you realise that it is just another country music album, but that it is a pretty good one.

The tracks are well crafted, and are catchy as well as supremely depressing in a very country music style. Man loses wife, man has wife cheatin' on him, basically songs about cuckolds. And that is fine because the songs are pretty well crafted.

If you are looking for something that will blow your mind, or bring something new to your life, look elsewhere, but if you just want to cry a little bit because you just found you wife in bed with the postman... and the milkman... and a cow, as has happened to me on occasion then this is the album for you. The tracks are good, some of them aren't actually sad, there are some light moments to it, but I am sure as hell not writing home about it. So get it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. She Told Me So
2. The Grand Tour
3. Borrowed Angel
4. Mary Don't Go 'Round

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Jones' alcohol consumption was legendary. For a great part of his life he woke up to a Screwdriver and spent the rest of the day drinking bourbon.

Perhaps the best known story of his drinking days is tragicomic. While married to the former Shirley Corley, his second wife, Jones resorted to some desperate measures in getting alcohol.

Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn't walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left. But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat. A key glistening in the ignition. I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.

The riding mower doesn't seem to be a one-time event. Wife Tammy Wynette told her own riding mower story in her 1979 autobiography.

About 1 am I would wake up and look over to find he was gone. I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away. When I pulled into the parking lot there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. He'd driven that mower right down a main highway. He looked up and saw me and said, `Well, fellas, here she is now. My little wife, I told you she'd come after me

Have you ever seen a Youtube video in better taste?, The Grand Tour by George Jones:

Friday, July 13, 2007

319. Neil Young - On The Beach (1974)

















Track Listing


1. Walk On
2. See The Sky About To Rain
3. Revolution Blues
4. For The Turnstiles
5. Vampire Blues
6. On The Beach
7. Motion Pictures
8. Ambulance Blues

Review

Neil Young does it again, by now you know how much I love Neil Young and he brings us another beautiful album here. Gone are the slight excesses of After The Gold Rush and Harvest and there seems to be a shift back to the days of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.

This album is not , however, as immediately appealing as any of those three previous albums, but it does reward repeated listenings. From the first two tracks you think you are listening to classic young, but from then on the "blues" tracks kick in and they are interesting to say the least. They sound as if Neil Young and Crazy Horse were really stripping down their sound into to something folksier but also more primeval.

The lyrics are some of the hardest hitting that Young ever committed to record, with an highlight going to Revolution Blues with its slightly misguided Charles Manson apology. Still it is a great song, but an even better track comes right at the end with Ambulance Blues, sounding almost like a Dylan ballad, but with a sense of beauty very particular to Young. It is never an album which astonishes you as much as his previous entries on the list but it is still something that I am sad to let go and that is going right into my Creative Zen. So get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights


1. Ambulance Blues
2. Revolution Blues
3. Walk On
4. See The Sky About To Rain

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Recorded after (but released before) Tonight's the Night, On the Beach shares some of that album’s bleakness and crude production –- which came as a shock to fans and critics alike, as this was the long-awaited studio follow-up to the commercial hit Harvest -- but also included hints pointing towards a more subtle outlook, particularly opener "Walk On".

While the original Rolling Stone review described it as "One of the most despairing albums of the decade", later critics such as All Music Guide’s William Ruhlmann used the benefit of hindsight to conclude that Young "Was saying goodbye to despair, not being overwhelmed by it". The despair of Tonight's the Night, communicated through intentional underproduction and lyrical pessimism, gives way to a more polished album that is still pessimistic but not so much so.

Much like Tonight's the Night, On the Beach was not a commercial success at the time of its release but over time attained both a cult following and high critical regard. The album was recorded in a haphazard manner, with Young utilizing a variety of session musicians, and often changing their instruments while offering only bare-bones arrangements for them to follow (in true Tonight's the Night tradition). He also would opt for rough, monitor mixes of songs rather than a more polished sound, alienating his sound engineers in the process.

Throughout the recording of the album, Young and his fellow musicians consumed a homemade concoction dubbed "Honey Slides", a goop of sauteed marijuana and honey that was, in manager Elliot Roberts' words, "...much worse than heroin. Much heavier." (Shakey: Neil Young's Biography, Jimmy McDonough). This may account for the mellow mood of the album, particularly side two of the original LP. Young has said of it "Good album. One side of it particularly - the side with "Ambulance Blues", "Motion Pictures" and "On the Beach" - it's out there. It's a great take." (Shakey)

Not a bad cover of Ambulance Blues by some guy on Youtube! I love the internets:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

318. 10CC - Sheet Music (1974)
















Track Listing

1. Wall Street Shuffle
2. Worst Band In The World
3. Hotel
4. Old Wild Men
5. Clockwork Creep
6. Silly Love
7. Somewhere In Hollywood
8. Baron Samedi
9. Sacroiliac
10. Oh Effendi

Review

Manchester represent! Well here's an album by 10cc, probably better known as the band which had that big hit with I'm Not In Love, it is easy to forget that they had quite a respectable career. This album is actually an interesting animal, it is almost like a mix between Roxy Music and Steely Dan, without actually being as good as any of those two bands, unfortunately.

Still, it is quite a good album, the lyrics are particularly funny and some of the music is quite innovative sounding, they still fall unfortunately, a bit on the side of novelty music with a strong AOR appeal.This is a pity, because if the album was slightly more sober it would be really good.

It is, however, worth listening too for the funny and smart lyrics and innovative arrangements. I think this feels a bit like a lost opportunity, it could have been a much better album but somehow it never quite rises above the level of quite good but not excellent. So get it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Clockwork Creep
2. The Worst Band In The World
3. Silly Love
4. Sacroiliac

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Although their second single, a similarly '50s-influenced song called "Johnny Don't Do It", was not a major chart success, "Rubber Bullets", a catchy satirical take on the "Jailhouse Rock" concept, became a hit internationally and gave 10cc their first British #1 single in May 1973. They consolidated their success a few months later with "The Dean And I", which peaked at #10 in August. They released two singles, "Headline Hustler" and the self-mocking "The Worst Band In The World" and launched a UK tour on August 26, 1973 before returning to Strawberry Studios in November to record the remainder of their second LP, Sheet Music (1973), which included "The Worst Band In The World" along with other hits "The Wall Street Shuffle" (#10, 1974) and "Silly Love" (#24, 1974).

"Sheet Music" became the band's breakthrough album, remaining on the UK charts for six months and paving the way for a US tour in February 1974.

Here you go, 10cc Worst Band In The World next to J Dilla's track Workinonit which samples 10cc:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

317. Queen - Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
















Track Listing

1. Brighton Rock
2. Killer Queen
3. Tenement Funster
4. Flick Of The Wrist
5. Lily Of The Valley
6. Now I'm Here
7. In The Lap Of The Gods
8. Stone Cold Crazy
9. Dear Friends
10. Misfire
11. Bring Back That Leroy Brown
12. She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos)
13. In The Lap Of The Gods...revisited

Review

Really, I should direct you to the review of Queen II. Queen keep doing what they do best, a fun album which doesn't challenge anyone in anyway. It is really Bill and Ted music, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

The only real stand out here is Killer Queen, a very fun track. This is not to say that the rest of the album is bad, because it never is bad or terrible. It is just a high level of kitsch.

So this is not as hard as Queen II, and not as riddled with Fantasy themes, but it is still silly, rocking fun. Nothing to write home about, but there is still more Queen to come, we'll see. Get it at Amazon UK or US.


Track Highlights

1. Killer Queen
2. Flick Of The Wrist
3. In The Lap Of The Gods
4. Now I'm Here

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Killer Queen" reached #2 in the British charts and provided Queen with their first US Top 20 hit peaking at #12 on the Billboard singles chart. Several songs from this album harken back to the earliest days of Queen and their predecessors Smile and Wreckage. "Brighton Rock" houses a guitar solo by Brian May, which began its life in the Smile song "Blag", then floated around in the live and BBC versions of the song "Son And Daughter", before finding its home in on the opening track here. The track begins with someone whistling the short melody "I do like to be beside the seaside", featured on "Seven Seas of Rhye", the last track from their previous album. "Stone Cold Crazy" was the first song credited to all four members of Queen but it had been played by Mercury's early band Wreckage. The original working title for "Tenement Funster" song was "Tin Dreams". "Misfire" is John Deacon's first composition to appear on a Queen album.

Killer Queen:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

316. Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson - Winter In America (1974)
















Track Listing

1. Peace Go With You, Brother
2. Rivers Of My Fathers
3. A Very Precious Time
4. Back Home
5. The Bottle
6. Song For Bobby Smith
7. Your Daddy Loves You
8. H2Ogate Blues
9. Peace Go With You Brother

Review

This is, unfortunately, the only Gil Scott-Heron album on the list. It is, however, a very beautiful album. It might be strange to call it primarily beautiful, when it is also such an angry and political album, but Scott-Heron is a great poet and really knows how to direct that anger into something precious.

Brian Jackson's music is also a big help to Scott-Heron's lyrics, a lot of it is a kind of subdued Jazz that lets the lyrics speak for themselves, but there is a whole variety of musical styles here, some of which are pretty new. H2Ogate Blues, although it is not a song that is mentioned that much on reviews of the album is a great track, no one has come closer to Rap than Scott-Heron on this track, and the way it is written is both smart and effective, with a bitter sense of humour which is great.

H2Ogate Blues is also interesting because even though it is about Vietnam and Watergate, a change of names and places would make this a really relevant track for our days. This is a truly brilliant and beautiful album that deserves to be carefully listened to by everyone out there. Get it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. H20gate Blues
2. The Bottle
3. Rivers of My Father
4. Song For Bobby Smith

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Scott-Heron is known in many circles as "the godfather of rap" and is widely considered to be one of the genre's founding fathers. Given the political consciousness that lies at the foundation of his work, he can also be called a founder of political rap. Message to the Messengers was a plea for the new generation of rappers to speak for change rather than perpetuate the current social situation, and to be more articulate and artistic:

"There's a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There's not a lot of humour. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, and you don't really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing."

In 2001, Gil Scott-Heron was sentenced to one to three years' imprisonment in New York State for cocaine possession. While out of jail in 2002, he appeared on the Blazing Arrow album by Blackalicious. He was released on parole in 2003.

On July 5, 2006, Scott-Heron was sentenced to two to four years in a New York State prison for violating a plea deal on a drug-possession charge by leaving a treatment center. Scott-Heron said he is HIV-positive and claimed the in-patient rehabilitation center stopped giving him his medication. The prosecution countered that Scott-Heron had once skipped out for an appearance with singer Alicia Keys. Scott-Heron's sentence will be complete on July 13, 2009, but he will be eligible for parole two years before that date. He was paroled on May 23, 2007.

The Bottle:

315. Richard And Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
















Track Listing

1. When I Get To The Border
2. The Calvary Cross
3. Withered And Died
4. I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
5. Down Where The Drunkards Roll
6. We Sing Hallelujah
7. Has He Got A Friend For Me?
8. The Little Beggar Girl
9. The End Of The Rainbow
10. The Great Valerio

Review

Richard Thompson was a big part of what made Fairport Convention work so well as a folk-rock band, not only as a guitarist but also as a lyricist. Both of those skills are again displayed to great effect in this album. He has the participation of his wife, Linda, who has a voice surprisingly similar to that of Sandy Denny.

Don't think this is another Fairport album however, it is very different, and unfortunately in my opinions the changes aren't for the better. Richard is well known as a writer of sad songs, and this album explores the seamy underbelly of Britain like no other folk album at the time. This also means that a lot of the light of Fairport is completely lost here, this albums is just too relentless in its wallowing.

This said it is still a quality folk album, by a great guitarist, and although he is not a great vocalist, Linda does the part just great. The album is worth it for some inspired songwriting, as well as some great arrangements, the silver band in the title track is a stand out for example. Get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
2. When I Get To The Border
3. The Great Valerio
4. Poor Little Beggar Girl

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Where his first album was treated harshly by the critics, the second was hailed as a masterpice. Recorded on a shoestring budget in a matter of days, it is now regarded as a classic of English folk-rock and one of Thompson's finest achievements.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 479 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The title track has been covered by Weddings Parties Anything and Ocean Colour Scene, whilst Kate Rusby and Elvis Costello have both covered 'Withered and Died'.

Richard Thompson solos I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, I quite dislike his voice, Linda is much better:

Sunday, July 08, 2007

314. Supertramp - Crime Of The Century (1974)















Track Listing

1. School
2. Bloody Well Right
3. Hide In Your Shell
4. Asylum
5. Dreamer
6. Rudy
7. If Everyone Was Listening
8. Crime Of The Century

Review

I am actually pretty surprised that the guys who made the list chose this album to be in it instead of Breakfast In America, which is the best Supertramp album. Although best Supertramp album is a bit like saying best fungal infection. While researching this album I have found loads of comparisons between this and Dark Side Of the Moon, and frankly there has rarely been a more desperate case of grasping at straws.

The album isn't that bad, but it really isn't that impressive. If there are similarities to any other band it would very much be Genesis, but post-Peter Gabriel Genesis. The album is pleasant enough, it is light, easy music, prog for those with no intellectual commitment. And that is fine, just don't try to pass it off as something else.

The album is perfectly entertaining, but the more you listen to it the more you start spotting its problems, from the lazy keyboards, where the guy must be arthritic and therefore simply repeats the same chords over and over again to the pretty infantile lyrics to the unsuccessful pretentiousness of the whole thing. But as I said before it is entertaining, just not something that I really have much time for. Get it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Dreamer
2. School
3. Crime Of The Century
4. Bloody Well Right

Final Grade

6/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Many of the songs on the album are still staples of the band's shows ("School", "Bloody Well Right", "Rudy", and the title cut). Almost all of the album appears on the band's 1980 live album Paris although the tracks which featured orchestrations on the original Crime of the Century album ("Asylum", "Rudy", and "Crime of the Century") were replaced by string synthesizers or Oberheim synthesizers which were played mainly by John Helliwell with some help from Roger Hodgson.

The album was Supertramp's first U.S. Top 40 album and was eventually certified Gold in the U.S. in 1977 after the release of Even in the Quietest Moments.

Dreamer: