Saturday, May 28, 2016

The rocky road to Dublin (The Chieftains) (LP 8)

The Chieftains  The Long Black Veil (CD - BMG Music, 1995) ***

Genre: Folk 

Places I remember: Real Groovy sale bin, Auckland.  

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? with Van Morrison on vocals is a real highlight...

Gear costume: ...but there are other fine moments, like The Lily Of The West with Mark Knopfler and Coast Of Malabar with Ry Cooder.

Active compensatory factors: Each track features a different famous vocalist: Mick Jagger, Sting, Tom Jones, Marianne Faithfull and Sinead O'Connor also contribute their talents.  

I do applaud the intention and idea although having a different vocalist for each song can result in a wide quality gap (hence the three star rating). For instance, I love Marianne Faithfull generally but here it feels like a mismatch of styles. And I'm not a Sinaed O'Connor fan at all so I fast forward through her two tracks. 

Where do they all belong? I'm not a huge fan of Irish folk music so there aren't  many other records in my collection like this apart from Clannad. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hey hey hey (Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen) (LP 7)

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen  Texas Roadhouse Favorites (CD - Music Avenue, 2005) ***

Genre:  Country rock

Places I remember: New Plymouth's Sounds , before they became rebranded as Marbecks, in the City Centre Mall.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles:   The live version of Hot Rod Lincoln is sublime!

Gear costume: The band is especially hot on Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar with George Frayne (a.k.a. Commander Cody) on boogie woogie piano in sizzling form.

Active compensatory factors:
This was recorded in 1974 during the gigs at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. A live album Live From Deep In The Heart Of Texas was originally released as the band's fourth album. These tracks were left off that album because the record company wouldn't do a double album!

The only disappointing aspect here is that the audience noise fades after each song. I hate that. I much prefer the feeling that I'm at the concert and that comes with seamless morphing into the next song.

The cover to Texas Roadhouse Favorites is, of course, a shocker! I love the Live...Texas cover with all the armadillos grooving to the Lost Planet Airmen and this one is terrible in comparison.

Where do they all belong? This is really part of a country rock tradition that merges traditional country sounds like pedal steel guitar with guitars and such, so bands like Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks are where the action is.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Come pick me up (Ryan Adams) (LP 6)

Ryan Adams Heartbreaker (CD - Bloodshot Records, 2000) ****

Genre:  Americana

Places I remember: This was in a pile of CDs that Roger Marbeck gave me in the early 2000s. He thought I'd like it and he's not often wrong is Roger.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles:   Oh My Sweet Carolina is damn near perfect. Emmylou Harris provides the harmony and... just wow baby!

Gear costume: My Winding Wheel is another gem on the album.

Active compensatory factors: A prodigious talent, Ryan Adams puts out A LOT of stuff! Not all of it is great but Heartbreaker was a fine debut solo album for him. 

It's patchy as most of his albums are (only Gold is genius from start to finish for me), hence the four star rating.

Where do they all belong?: Where to next? Try more of Adam's CDs - most notably Gold, and other Americana bands like the Jayhawks and my fave, Golden Smog.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Les professionnels (Air) (LP 5)

Air  Premiers Symptomes (CD - Source, 1999) ****

Genre:  Progressive

Places I remember: Real Groovy, Auckland. I was on an Air thing at the time - Moon Safari, The Virgin Suicides soundtrack and 10,000Hz Legend lead me to this (interesting that at various points I sold off the other albums listed here, but kept this one).

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles:  J'ai Dormi sous l'eau (I slept under water)

Gear costume: Of the bonus tracks Brakes On is pretty amazing. It keeps up a killer groove out of a bunch of instruments/sounds that I know diddly about.

Active compensatory factors: This is actually a compilation of their first singles but it hangs together so well as a cohesive whole (which is why it's not holed up with the rest of the Progressive 'Best of' collections in case you were wondering).

It's all about the vibe man. The vibe here being lovely floating synth waves with looping beats and mainly instrumental chunes. I love it, and play it often.

This version is the 1999 re-release with two bonus tracks.

Where do they all belong?: Although it's the first stuff they did, it links incredibly well to two other later period albums I have by Air - Love 2 and La Voyage Dans La Lune


Monday, May 9, 2016

Beautiful and blue (The Iveys) (LP 4)

Iveys  Maybe Tomorrow (CD - Apple, 1969/1992) ***

Genre:  Apple (naturally my Apple Records collection follows on from the Beatles genre)

Places I remember: Auckland, late 1990s, Real Groovy Records in Queen Street.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Beautiful and Blue was one of several tracks re-recorded for the first Badfinger album (we'll get to it eventually).

Gear costume: Fisherman has some great harmonies. The video is the redone version though.

Active compensatory factors: I love Badfinger. I love everything about them (apart from the tragedy): Pete Ham; the songs; the music; the Apple connection. I. Love. Badfinger.

This is very early Badfinger, before McCartney gave them Come And Get It, recording as the Iveys (after a place name in Swansea, Poison Ivy and The Hollies - Iveys - get it?).

There are some strong songs on this, their first and only album before the name change, which only got a very limited release back in 1969 and became a real collectors' item.  

Probably, one for collectors, but it's still a snazzy little time capsule from a more innocent age.

Where do they all belong?: These were important baby steps that lead to Magic Christian Music (i.e. we're not quite at the 'giants of power pop' status yet but hang in there, it's right around the bend).

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Get on the right track baby (Tony Sheridan) (LP 1-3)

Good morning people! It's a new dawn!

My vinyl vault
Having spent a couple of years completing the epic singles countdown (I thought I had 300, turns out it was nearly double that), it's now time to go one bigger.

What could that mean? It means -writing about every album I own!! 

Gulp - this could take a while!

CDs and more CDs

Indeed, it would take me a few years to get through just The Beatles catalogue alone so some guidelines are required which I may or may not adhere to as time goes by.

First up my collection is arranged in genres, so I'm going to rotate through them so that I don't get stuck on my genre or one artist.

That means vinyl and CDs will get mixed up too and I'll be ranging over albums from the last 100 years. So forget about alphabetical! Exciting, right? You bet!!

Very deliberately, I want to write about original albums as they were intended (I LOVE albums), so - no 'best of' collections for this baby, and no compilations of various artists at this stage either.

As with the singles, I want to highlight certain aspects of each album. There will still be a hidden gem but I'll be adding my favourite standout track, hopefully with a clip, the album cover and anything of note that I can think of/remember, like where I bought it and when.

I'm also going to attempt a simple rating system to keep myself amused (it's over in the left hand column)

Okay - enough preamble. Here's my first step on a (very) long and winding road...

The Beatles  The Beatles First (Double Vinyl - Polydor, 1968) *

[+ The Beatles Tony Sheridan And The Beatles
(CD - Charly Records, 1992) *

The Beatles Savage Young Beatles (CD - TKO Magnum Music, 2002) *]

Genre: Beatles (you know it)

Places I remember: I bought this in Auckland in the mid seventies from the bargain bin rack at George Courts in K Rd. in the company of one Greg Knowles.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles
: Cry For A Shadow (Lennon/ Harrison) is a terrific little instrumental homage to The Shadows (great title huh) and a neat workout for George.

Gear costume: What I'd Say? The fabs used this Ray Charles rave up in their Hamburg days - Mark Lewisohn reports that Paul used to spin their version out to 15 minutes or so - here it's a thrifty version and a real gem! I think this is the only place the track ever appears - I certainly can't find it on anything else - not the BBC recordings, not Live! At the Star Club, not on Anthology 1.

Active compensatory factors: Yes, inevitably, we start with The Beatles because the first genre in my collection is BEATLES - together and solo are collected together and have pride of place. Where else would I start?

These first three albums are part of the huge repackaging market in pre Parlophone Beatles material - tracks recorded in Germany with and without Tony Sheridan.

It was these recordings, in particular The Fabs version of My Bonnie, that first sparked interest from Brian Epstein - driven purely by a keenness to track down music his target audience was searching for.

Although there are hints (like the harmonies in Sweet Georgia Brown) they, of course, do not sound anything like the post 1963 Beatles, but... many of these tracks are a lot fun.

The vinyl double album is the best of the three collections I have - four sides, 23 tracks.

Where do they all belong?: Nobody would actually start with this as their introduction to The Beatles but the logical progression from this one (apart from Live! At the Star Club on YouTube) are the other early albums by the British invasion bands that followed - like The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, and The Hollies.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man (Tears For Fears) #556 - 562


Tears For Fears Shout (remix)/ Shout/ The Big Chair (Mercury 12", 1984)
Tears For Fears  Mothers Talk (long version)/ The Marauders/ The Beat Of The Drum/ The Way You are/ Mothers Talk (short version) (Mercury 12", 1984)
Tears For Fears Everybody Wants To Rule The World (long version)/ Everybody Wants To Rule The World/ Pharaohs (Mercury 12", 1985)
Tears For Fears Broken; Head Over Heels; Broken (remix)/ Head Over Heels/ When In Love With A Blind Man (Mercury 12", 1985)
Tears For Fears I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording)/ Shout (dub)/ Sea Song/ Shout (remix) (Mercury 12", 1985)
Tears For Fears  Sowing The Seeds Of Love/ Tears Roll Down/ Shout (remix) (Mercury 12", 1989)
Tears For Fears My Girls/ Ready To Start/ And I Was A Boy From School (INGrooves 10", 2014)

The final entry in my singles collection countdown (yes, 562 of them!) is a catch up entry. 

As I've been counting the singles down I acquired these beauties by Tears For Fears from Slow Boat Records in Wellington. Someone down there was obviously having a clear out of their old vinyl, and I snapped them up!

The A sides range from 1984 to 2014 and the quality is remarkably consistent.

The songs should be very familiar to the blogosphere - is there anybody out there who doesn't know Shout?, Everybody Wants To Rule The World?

I love those songs but they are trumped by Sowing The Seeds. It may be the celebration of all the Beatle influences in one song, not sure, but it is one amazing singalong - best in the Purdmobile as I'm pootling to work.

The 2014 comeback was lead by the My Girls EP (10" vinyl - it tied in with Record Store Day). All three songs are covers. 

My Girls came from Animal Collective. Great to have the men in paisley back!

Hidden gems: Hmmm - as y'all know I'm not a huge remix fan and I really really don't like/get Dub versions so a mixed bag on the B sides in that regard.

Of the actual songs - Tears For Fears always maintain a high quality control. Tears Roll Down is my pick of that bunch.