Tuesday, November 29, 2016

That's All Right Mama (Arthur 'Bigboy' Crudup) (LP 68)

Canned Heat Future Blues (Vinyl - Liberty, 1970) ****

Genre: Blues

Places I remember: Although there is an old Marbecks Records sticker on the cover, I bought this at Real Groovy, while I worked at Marbecks. It's a tangled web!

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: So Sad (The World's in a Tangle) - an extended boogie workout master class!

Gear costume: Let's Work Together - their cover was the hit single from this album.

Active compensatory factors: The fifth album from the Heat and the last with the classic line up. This is immense!

My good friends, Clay and Margo, recommended this album to me and they weren't wrong!

The band is under-rated as a studio unit. Of course, they are mostly known for their epic live work and Woodstock helped with that impression, but they can certainly work up a lather in the studio as well. 

Where do they all belong? No collection is complete without a Canned Heat best of compilation with their terrific singles like On The Road Again, and Going Up The Country.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Incandescent blue (Bruce Cockburn) (LP 67)

Bruce Cockburn Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws (Vinyl - RCA, 1979) ***

Genre: Folk

Places I remember: Marbecks Records

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Wondering Where The Lions Are

Gear costume: After The Rain

Active compensatory factors: The hook (to buy the whole album) was the awesomeness of Wondering Where The Lions Are. My children know this song really well. Not only did I play it a lot but I would often wake them up in the morning with the opening lines:

Sun's up, uuh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me.

After The Rain is a beautiful tone poem reflection that floats along a few feet above the ground. Gorgeous music!

The rest of the album cannot rise to those lofty heights but is nothing less than good honest Canadian folk/rock music.

Where do they all belong? With other obscure Canadian folkies like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I feel like singing (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks) (LP 66)

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks Where's the Money? (Vinyl - ABC Blue Thumb, 1971) ***

Genre: Country

Places I remember: Amoeba Records, Haight Street, San Francisco. Cost me $1.99! Yeah baby!

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Is this my happy home?

Gear costume: By Hook or By Crook.

Active compensatory factors: This is good timey, funky folkie music that blends all sorts of genres - bluegrass, country, folk, swing and pop.

It is often smiley face funny as well.

Especially on this, a live album. Dan's dry stage announcements remind me a little of the laconic Neil Young delivery at his early solo concerts.

It was perfect that I got this on our first visit to San Francisco - Haight St. - Amoeba Records. 

Good times and good rockin' tonite are guaranteed.  

Where do they all belong? Hard to characterise Dan Hicks but for me he slots in right along side other wonderful fringe weirdos like Commander Cody. Chuck in some Asleep at the Wheel country licks for good measure.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fragile dreams (Anathema) (LP 65)

Anathema alternative 4 (Vinyl - Peaceville, 1998) **

Genre: Progressive rock

Places I remember: Cost $15 from the Hastings Warehouse, 2016 (a few weeks ago). Yes I still buy vinyl, wherever I can find it.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Actually, nothing special has lifted itself into my brain and I've had it on high rotate. So this is something of a random choice from YouTube.

Active compensatory factors: I'm a fan of Anathema. I love prog, both old and modern so I snapped this up on vinyl when I saw it in the Warehouse.

Sadly though it's, at this stage, a definite meh.

I'd played it over and over - hoping each time for a tune to leap out at me/ stick in my brain/ worm its way into my consciousness.

But all I'm left with is...meh.

Where do they all belong? Anathema have a deep back catalogue - more to come that is definitely more memorable than Alternative 4.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Apple of my eye (Badfinger) (LP 63-64)

Badfinger Straight Up (Vinyl - Apple, 1972) *****
Badfinger Ass (Vinyl, CD - Apple, 1973) ****

Genre: Apple/ Dark Horse Records

Places I remember: Marbecks Records

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: So many wonderful songs on the classic five star Straight Up. Picking one stand out is grossly unfair but Day After Day was my first ever taste of Badfinger power pop on the radio (and Solid Gold Hits) so... Ass' best moment is Pete Ham's heartfelt Apple Of My Eye natch.

Gear costume: Baby Blue, I'd Die Babe (featuring belting Ringo style drumming), Sweet Tuesday Morning (Straight Up); Icicles (Ass).

Active compensatory factors: Straight Up is peak Badfinger on Apple Records. Not that it's clear cut. No Dice is a wonderful record but, for me, the songs/ production/ playing/ harmonies on Straight Up are beyond great!

From the classic Beatle's style cover, to the classic Beatle pop inspired sound, to Beatle George's involvement, Straight Up is all class!

Sadly, though, Ass was the final Badfinger album on their beloved Apple Records. Although patchy (only a few Pete Ham songs), as a band, they got their shot and they took it and their legacy lives on!

Where do they all belong? Leaving Apple, Badfinger were given a home of sorts on Warner Brothers and the greatness (and sadness) was not done yet!

Rest in peace Tom, Mike and Pete.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Love of the loved (The Beatles) (LP 62)

The Beatles Birth of a Legend (Vinyl - Music World, 1983) *

Genre: Beatle pop

Places I remember: Marbecks Records.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Money.

Gear costume: Three Cool Cats.

Active compensatory factors: The Beatles have a unique place in our hearts, culture and consciousness. Not too many bands/artists have their audition tapes out there on vinyl like this.

Yes, audition tapes. This album collects 12 of the 15 songs from the ultimately failed Decca audition (the other three, the only three Lennon/McCartney songs: Love of the Loved, Like Dreamers Do, Hello Little Girl appeared on singles elsewhere on this blog).

Bottom line - listening to this in total, I can understand why Decca didn't sign them and how only George Martin's punt saved the band.

Yes, the cover is atrocious - a painted version of the Ringoless Beatles (Pete Best was the drummer before Ringo) blesses this budget record. And yes, this is one for collectors/ obsessives, hence the one star rating, but call me crazy - I really like it!

Especially the 'comedy' numbers like, cha cha boom, Besame Mucho.

Interestingly, George is heavily represented as a vocalist and has some of the best moments here (Three Cool Cats, Crying Waiting Hoping, The Sheik of Araby, Take Good Care of My Baby).

Paul has the cheesiest moments (September in the Rain, Besame Mucho, Sure to Fall, Till There Was You -I've never liked this one).

John only has a few rockers that hint at his greatness (Memphis, Money).

Therein lies the essential 'problem' here - no clear dominant vocalist for a producer to focus on. And the variety of styles on display is confusing.

Beatle fun and harmonies are hinted at in these songs, but really, you would have to have been a real visionary to see these blokes changing world history!  

Where do they all belong? Only five of these songs made it to Anthology 1 but if you want context - that's the place to go!

Sidebar - I noticed online that a mint copy (like mine) goes for around $50 now. Nice!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Rock is my life (BTO) (LP 61)

Bachman Turner Overdrive Not Fragile (Vinyl - Mercury, 1974) ****

Genre: Canadian pop/rock

Places I remember: Slow Boat Records

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Roll On Down the Highway gets me up and air guitaring every time. Every time!

Gear costume: Phew - so many great tracks - the always terrific You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, but Not Fragile, and Freewheelin' are also on side one!!

Active compensatory factors: These guys ruled in the seventies at my school (and every school!). Their hits sound tracked our lives.

I distinctly remember travelling to football games with these songs playing on the radio. Turn it up!! time.

Randy Bachman came to BTO via The (wonderful) Guess Who. He left after the American Woman album and lit out for other Canadian pastures with his brothers and friends that eventually led to BTO.

Where do they all belong? You need to go back to Guess Who - you really do.