Odds and Ends 011
Been Through a Lot, These Guys
Otis Taylor: Otis Taylor's Contraband (Telarc)
Colorado bluesman finally figures out how to split the difference between gravity and taking yourself too seriously ("Yell Your Name," "Blind Piano Teacher") ***
Ahmad Zahir: Hip 70's Afghan Beats! (Guerssen)
Assassinated by the Russians in 1979, Afghan rocker was too gifted vocally and melodically to sink into schlock ("Dar Kunj Dilam Eshqi Kasi," "Uoba Darta Rawarem") ***
Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues (Rounder)
The reason the only one he wrote is called "Just Another Rider" is that he's finally content to let better songs than his own carry him home ("Floating Bridge," "Devil Got My Woman") **
William Michael Dillon: Black Robes and Lawyers (Flying Free)
Learned a skill while doing 28 goddamn years for a murder he didn't commit ("Black Robes and Lawyers," "Chasing a Dream") **
Stephen David Austin: A Bakersfield Dozen (StephenDavidAustin.com)
The kind of writer who remembers the day Buck Owens died, the kind of singer who hopes someone covers his song about it ("Best Ex I Ever Had," "The Cage") **
Waco Brothers & Paul Burch: Great Chicago Fire (Bloodshot)
Ever collegial and craving new blood, Jon L. and the gang take in a fortysomething alt-Nashville lifer ("Great Chicago Fire," "Someone That You Know") *
Jimmie Vaughan: Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites (Shout! Factory)
He knows the tradition & also the difference between a traditionalist and a remaker ("The Pleasure's All Mine," "Wheel of Fortune") *
Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve)
The Killer's many wives etc. (those who are alive, anyway) will tell you he's not really mean‑-that's just Kristofferson kidding around ("Mean Old Man," "Sweet Virginia") *
"It's a slightly more formal pleasure than a passionate one, but that hardly means that passion is absent...it's just a little more abstract. The lyrics are throwaway a lot of the time, but that never really bothered me that much, because even with the Beatles he was only sporadically great in that regard."
To which I'd now add, I just spent most of the day listening to a number of my favorite PM albums (a list of the ones I'd happily put on any time appears at the end of this post) and think he's even better than I thought - still far from the greatest, but the best of his plainspoken ones carry some real power, and the nonsense ones are often pretty fun. As Xgau noted in his Memory Almost Full review, his lyrics have even gained a bit in thoughtfulness and wisdom. And apropos of the discussion in the last thread, there are often times where what exact words are coming out of his mouth don't make the slightest difference.
"For me the magic comes through in the melodies, the hooks, the singing, the playing, the production."
This we can pretty much agree on, but it bears repeating, because for me his magic in these departments is up near the top of the line.
"I've actually warmed much more to "Silly Love Songs" over the years - from the multi-movement structure to the darn lovely arrangement of voices in the middle part (with Linda integrated to the point where even she sounds good) to the lyrics, which, used to bug me but now feel like an actual statement of purpose. A polite statement (because that's his way),a somewhat defensive statement (because after years of bad reviews that's almost second nature, too), one that you might find irritating or unworthy of his talent (I used to), but one which he's held true to for years now. Silly love songs aren't everything, but they're hardly nothing."
A somewhat defensive statement itself, but I'll stick with it. As for silly, see my comments in the last thread.
Obviously this is a place where I differ fairly significantly from Xgau. I've just never had that feeling of sharp irritation that he mentions, and while Red Rose Speedway isn't my favorite I think it's a long ways from the worst album put out by a rock and roller of the first rank.
Ryan, the fact that I think more highly of him as a person (Like us all he's had his crass and dickish moments, some widely known about and discussed, but in general I don't think he's either. From the interviews I've read and listened to he comes off as someone I'd be happy to hang out with ) probably has something to do with where you and I differ, but probably not that much. I think we might have to chalk it up to the pure mysteries of taste, or, as the guy who sparked my original post puts it, "the particular things he does he does so much better than anyone else, and though I can't exactly say what those things are I wouldn't be without them." Are-we-hearing-the-same-thing? Obviously not. To me that's just the way of things, and it's actually pretty fun. I'm sorry that it seems to bother you so much sometimes.
To complete the coming-out process, PM fave raves: McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Venus & Mars, an EP containing the best parts of At the Speed of Sound, Wings Over America, London Town, Back to the Egg, McCartney II (I've learned to love the best parts of this one, and I mean love), Tug of War, Flowers in the Dirt, Off the Ground, Unplugged, Run Devil Run, Wingspan (Hits & History), Chaos & Creation, Memory Almost Full, Kisses on the Bottom
Ryan, I meant to ask you before, why is it iconoclastic to like Neon Bible least of AF's records? Most people I know prefer Funeral. .
Of course Ram beats Straight Up; Straight Up was made by a worse band than Pablo Cruise. (My
own favourite BF is Wish You Were Here. The lyrics hadn't improved any, though the phrase "should I smoke or should I die" is catchy.)
Semi Mike, Split Enz was my first-ever show outside of local bar bands, the True Colours tour.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Irene! Enjoy 25 - your next birthday you'll no longer be half my age.
Roger Clemens found not guilty.
Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" is a Beurre Blanc sauce, a nice warm buttery pop song without a lot of spice or flavor. For comparison a Split Enz record seems like a Lemon -Dill Beurre Blanc a little more flavorful and tasty. Both are a nice side accoutrement to the main course...
Gregg Allman's disc is fantastic it just missed my best-of list for 2011 and wanted to thank Milo for first mentioning it last year in a poast.
Augustus Pablo- East of the Nile River
Augustus Pablo- King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown
The dB's - Like This
The Go-Betweens- Freakchild (Grazie Ryan!)
Sharpism-that's not my thumbs down btw-not my style-
but you must admit you deserve one or two-no?
The tracklist is worth mentioning --
01. Groundhog Day
02. Kill My Blues
04. I Don’t Wanna Go
06. No Bad News Tonight
07. Summer Jams
08. None Like You
10. Outgoing Message
11. Blood, Bones, and Sand
because Neskowin is a small town on the Oregon coast, just like Nehalem is. 55 miles south of Nehalem to be exact, both in Tillamook County connected directly by Highway 101. Which means that when they "came running for" Todd Snider "down 101/Lights flashing on [his] tail" on that unfortunate day that he ended up with "One phone call/Two Tylenol/Four cold gray walls closing in" at the Tillamook County Jail, he was metaphorically driving from Everclear to Corin Tucker.
You don't get good stuff like this just anywhere now do ya'
Late to the dance as usual-that's what happens
when you're on-line once a day. But here goes.
1) Bob Dylan-"the old corpse". Jeez- Sharpism- I'd hate
to catch you in a bad mood.
2) Anyone for the Berkely Barb and the East Village Other-
now that was music criticism.
3) Not paying attention or giving black music it's due-referring to best of lists or whatever--
in the 70's and 80's -is not racist by definition.. It is what it is.Like possibly just
not paying attention.
4) Like BB King said (I think it was BB-maybe Muddy))-thank god for bands like The Rolling Stones etc. who by
playing their own version of the blues- put my music in the public eye-the ones actually spending money
on music-and thus food on my table.
And on the white music/Black music on the radio question I just wanted to throw in that Greil Marcus is quite wonderful on this in his Sly Stone section of Mystery Train when he just sorta stops to say: did you notice what happened in 1972-3 when all this great Black political pop took over the radio?
I say all this with the utmost fondest. Were it feasible, I'd babysit Mingus for free on the daily. I was once a big-headed, blond-haired, round-eyed baby myself. NOW I'M A TWENTY-FIVE YEAR OLD WOMAN. (As of today. :D Couldn't help but include that because yes! I want your tidings.)
The cute one turns 70. Keeps on truckin' with wife Nancy and - just to poke a sharp stick into every rock critic's eyeball - brings out a Special Edition of RAM! Cheeky to the end.
Copyright, 2012 / Puppymaster, Inc.
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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