Todd Snider/The Magnetic Fields
What's So Funny?
Todd Snider: Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables (Aimless/Thirty Tigers)
Musically, these are not complex songs, and although Snider's boyish air never seems forced and his good humor always comes with laughs, his 45-year-old voice bears the gravelly traces of many sleepless nights. Yet for the third time since he kicked opiates in 2004, he's scored a full album's worth of new material that remains completely in a character unique to him while adding something new to that character. This time what's new is a band sound shambolically anchored by John Prine's New Orleans-raised drummer Paul Griffith and cunningly colored by fiddler Amanda Shires. What's also new but less surprising is an ever more explicit and uncompromising class animus. One song names the Abacus Fund Goldman Sachs and John Paulson conned unions with. Another begs to differ with the privileged canard that living well is the best revenge. Uh-uh, Snider sez. Revenge is the best revenge. A
The Magnetic Fields: Love at the Bottom of the Sea (Merge)
These 15 song-puzzles in 34:20 are sophisticated amusements all, although often the amusement is attenuated and one I get bored with before half its 2:38 is over. How amusing they prove over time remains, of course, to be determined. Most amusing: "Your Girlfriend's Face" and "I'll Go Anywhere With Hugh" (tie). Most‑-sorry, it's the right word‑-soulful: "Andrew in Drag." I note for the record that all three are among the first five tracks. A MINUS
(hint: it won't be Dusty in Memphis - it may not be on my ballot, but I suspect it deserves much better than the give-it-two-listens-and-file-it it received when I bought it a long time ago)
Led Zep II (definitely II over I)Joe - I have it the other way around - the debut has more tuneage and variety, less cock-rock (can't deny "Whole Lotta Love", though!)
|My 1969 ballot:|
1. The Flying Burrito Bros.: The Gilded Palace of Sin 15
2. Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline 10
3. The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground 10
4. Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis 10
5. The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed 10
6. The Band: The Band 10
7. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Willy and the Poorboys 10
8. Miles Davis: In a Silent Way 9
9. Frank Zappa – Hot Rats 9
10 The Beatles – Abbey Road 7
Patrick/Anybody: Amazon has Mendocino out of print. True?
It's probably true if Amazon says it. I got the LP - I learned just now that one of the bonus tracks on the CD is a cover of Tom T. Hall's "The Homecoming" - sweet! Too bad the CD doesn't have the original artwork.
Like Jason, my ballot was 10 pts each - no ranking.
And for the most part it followed the established wave.
The Band The Band
Beatles Abbey Road
Joe Cocker Joe Cocker!
CCR Green River
Miles Davis In A Silent Way
The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society
Rolling Stones Let It Bleed
Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground (box set version)
Neil Young Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
One lone wolf
Procol Harum A Salty Dog
The last was not on my list for some time. Only after lotsa listening, agonizing over dropping Dusty, Captain, Willy & The Poorboys, Elvis ....
The album just held up best for me .... surprisingly so. Hadn't played it in some time. Have done so a lot since. Wish they coulda followed it up more successfully.
Saw 'em playing some of these songs and for a time this was a good live band... IMO
I did this Sunday night after getting to bed around 2 a.m. Wussy-night and still waking up at my usual crazy early old-man time. Went for a run in Prospect Park Sunday morning and was tripping all over my feet. Had this great delusional moment where I thought that if I went a$$-over-teakettle and banged my head on a tree and knocked myself out, when they found me with no i.d. and just my headphones/mp3 player, they'd send out the forensic ethnomusicologist who would, no doubt, say "Hmmm. Last three songs were D'Angelo-Wussy-and some Byrds song from 1969. Must be one of those Witnesses."
1. From Elvis in Memphis
2. Jerry Butler: Ice on Ice
3. Mother Earth: Make a Joyful Noise
4. The Band
5. Joe Simon: Simon Sings
6. From Dusty in Memphis
7. Neil Young: Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
8. Taj Mahal: Giant Steps
9. The Rolling Stones: Let it Bleed
10. The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground 14 points
The Band 13 points
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica 12 points
The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed 11 points
Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis 9 points
Miles Davis - In a Silent Way 8 points
The Flying Burrito Brothers - Gilded Palace of Sin 7 points
Fairport Convention - What We Did On Our Holiday 6 points
Rod Stewart - The Rod Stewart Album 5 points
Also, upon re-listening, In A Silent Way felt like the third best album McLaughlin played on in '69. Maybe because he hardly played on it at all. Also Larry Young > 3 electric pianos. But such are the idiosyncrasies of point-in-time listening - who knows, maybe next year my life is less frantically kinetic, maybe the order is reversed.
I'd be really interested in hearing The Strangers album, it was never on my radar...
Patrick - Can you confirm you received my ballot? I can't find it on my PC for the life of me. If so, if you email it back to me, I'll post it. Thanks
I have no doubt that more time with the Jorge Ben could move it off the list, plus I started to love Wilson Pickett's Hey Jude, but also didn't have much time with it. Now to find Doing His Thing. Is it in print?
No, unfortunately Doing His Thing has never been issued on cd, and isn't available online to download legally anymore. If you look though, you can find it.
I really wish I knew how to create those nifty dropbox thingys like Cam. I've tried, but with no luck. In addition to Doing His Thing I have a copy of Hey Jude from the 2010 remastered Pickett Box that I would love to share- the upgraded sound is great.
I could email the songs? a few attached per email. The Charles is only 30Mb at 128 kbps. I'll post my email if anyone is interested. Sorry I'm so computer stupid.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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