Thursday, September 28, 2017

Gonna take you for a ride in my Tarotplane (Captain Beefheart) (LP 147)

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Mirror Man (CD - Buddha Records, 1971) ****

Genre: Alternative

Places I remember: Real Groovy (Auckland)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Tarotplane

Gear costume: The other long one - Mirror Man.

Active compensatory factors: Rarely did the Captain tease out songs into lengthy blues rooted riffermanias. But he does on these Mirror Man tracks.

Given these songs were abandoned at the time, they may never have seen the light of day without the record company (Buddah) being avaricious.

Mirror Man is a kinda weird album even in the weird world of Don Van Vliet. It gets a bad press but it's one I play a lot. 

It kicks off with Tarotplane, a lengthy 19 minute blues jam that includes some wonderful harmonica from the Captain. The other three tracks use the same tactics - a basic blues riff that are vehicles for the Captain's startling vocals and lyrics.

Originally recorded in 1967 - it took four years for it to emerge (and even then with a Magic Band photo that is out of date). I'm not sure what the good Captain's reaction was to it at the time but I'm glad it exists.

Where do they all belong? A shiny, bat chain pulling beast is coming!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Travelin' light (J J Cale) (LP 146)

Eric Clapton Reptile (CD - Reprise Records, 2001) ****

Genre: Blues

Places I remember: Kings Recording (Abu Dhabi). 

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Superman Inside

Gear costume: Travelin' Light is in the zone.

Active compensatory factors: The novelist,Haruki Murakami, is responsible for me owning this somewhat underrated album by Slowhand.

I'd picked up on Haruki's mention of the album as a great album to listen to while jogging. Of course, he's spot on.

Bookended by two EC instrumentals, there is nice overall feel to the album - it's relaxed, easy on the ear, oozes confidence, and is personal in a way that EC is seldom personal. 

Nothing incendiary on offer though, no guitar wig outs, but, yes, Haruki, great for jogging.

Where do they all belong? Back to vinyl next for EC - loads to come, solo, Blues Breakers and Cream of course.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Honour and praise (Fairport Convention) (LP 145)

Fairport Convention From Cropredy to Portmeirion (CD - Eagle Records, 2007) *** 

Genre: Folk

Places I remember: The Warehouse Whangarei

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: London River is a great singalong!

A live version during a 1990 full concert is great viewing as well. Go to the 29.09 minute mark for all the fun.

Gear costume: Red and Gold

Active compensatory factors: Unlike Steeleye Span and Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention is an English electric folk band that I've never really cottoned on to. Maybe the forever shifting line ups (checkout the list here) without a charismatic front person post Denny, or maybe the lack of a killer couple of tunes. It all contributes.

I picked up this live momento from a tour in the early nineties cheaply from The Warehouse and it's okay, but nothing that special. From a tour without a female vocalist, they really miss the variety and strong presence of a Sandy Denny type.

Where do they all belong? Along with Fotheringay and the Spans.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

We travelled so far (Mary Chapin Carpenter) (LP 144)

Mary Chapin Carpenter The Age Of Miracles (CD ZoĆ« Records, 2010) *** 

Genre: Country

Places I remember: Virgin Megastore Dubai Mall

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: I Put My Ring Back On

Gear costume: Iceland is spookily good, We Travelled So Far and Zephyr will always remind me of driving in the Tiida with Jacky from Al Ain to Dubai.

Active compensatory factors: Because of that association with driving around in sunny Al Ain, it's my favourite studio album by MCC. 

It starts off with four terrific songs but things then get a little too hushed and maudlin for a bit (something David Crosby also suffers from periodically). Iceland gets the mix right before a strong close. 

Where do they all belong? Party Doll and other favourites is still the best way to approach her particular genius. 

It's got live stuff, studio gems, and beautiful cover versions of Mick Jagger's Party Doll and John Lennon's Grow Old Along With Me. It is superb!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Nobody listens to silence (Ryan Adams) (LP 142 - 143)

Ryan Adams Easy Tiger (CD - Lost Highway, 2007) ****
Ryan Adams Ryan Adams (CD - PAXAM, 2014) ****

Genre: Americana

Places I remember: Kings Recording (Abu Dhabi)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Pearls on a String (Easy Tiger); Trouble (Ryan Adams)

Gear costume: These Girls (Easy Tiger); My Wrecking Ball (Ryan Adams)

Active compensatory factors: Easy Tiger (as in slow down big boy) is a return to a Heartbreaker style sound that is easy on the ear. Some memorable songs and some great picking from The Cardinals make Easy Tiger a stand out in the vast Adamsverse.

Ryan Adams is a great companion album. It's a more electric sound with some great organ from Benmont Tench. That and other things give the album a strong Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers sound at times.

With all his outrageous gifts on display, the first five songs - Gimme Something Good/ Kim/ Trouble/ Am I Safe/ My Wrecking Ball are completely wham bam.

Because of his profuse output, Ryan Adams can be maddeningly inconsistent but when he gets it right, as he does on these two albums, he's hard to beat!

Where do they all belong? Some live stuff and the awesome Taylor Swift cover album to come. The late twenty teens have been fertile ground.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cosmic trip (Air) (LP 141)

Air Le Voyage Dans La Lune (CD - Virgin, 2011) ****

Genre: Progressive rock

Places I remember: The Warehouse (Hastings)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles/ Gear costume: Cosmic Trip 

Active compensatory factors: I wouldn't file this under 'soundtracks' on my shelves (and I haven't) as it's more 'inspired by' than anything.

I have a soft spot for the hippy trippy progressive sounds of Air. They are one of many bands inspired by the progressive, experimental sounds of Pink Floyd. And that can't be bad in my book (of rock).

They have definitely carved out a distinctive sound of their own and for my money (it's what I want) they are at their best when going the cinemascopic route, as they do here.

Where do they all belong? That's it for Air. Next stop in the prog department is on the heavier side of things - with some prog metal!