Look at this! Two segments in two weeks! That’s a lot of listening. I’m hoping that this segment goes as well as the last. Whether I rated each and every one, I enjoyed listening to them. It would be nice to have that again. I’ve not really looked ahead to know what I’ll be get getting into. Speaking of getting into, let’s do this.
#360 – Singles Going Steady by Buzzcocks. Well, okay then. Starting off with “Orgasm Addict,” it’s a punk punch right to the face. I know I’ll get flack for this, but I’d never heard any Buzzcocks before. That is, that I knew of. Turns out that I have heard of “What Do I Get” and find it to be a great song! I enjoy that. The energy on this is great. Once again, I’m going against my own grain and reviewing a compilation album. SMDH. Overall, the Buzzcocks were fun to listen. I do like Pete Shelley’s “Homosapien,” if that helps?
#359 – Honky Chateau by Elton John. Ah, Sir Elton. I love me some Elton John. You stick around in some funk-laced Honky Tonk/Old West weirdness that Elton went through and you feel good about it the whole time. The opening number, “Honky Cat” is classic Elton and has that New Orleans funkiness you love about him. The greatest number on this platter, though, has to be “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long Time)” as it is one of my all-time favorite EJ songs – I performed it for the Vagabond Saints Society Presents Elton John show. I don’t know what it is about that song, but I love it from start to finish. It ranks right up there with “Levon” from Madman Across the Water, “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” from Blue Moves and “All the Girls Love Alice” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. But listening through this album, and it’s not my first time, there is nothing on this album that I think is filler. Dang! “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters!” I mean, come on! L.O.V.E!!!!
#358 – Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis. While I know how cool Miles Davis was. I’ve never heard any of his stuff. Cue Eugene‘s “WHAT!?” from The Less Desirables, now. I just haven’t. Caveat: I’m only listening to the 5 songs that make up the 1960 release of the album. I appreciate bonus tracks and all that jazz (see what I did there?), I’m looking for the original representation, as close as I can get. I enjoy listening for the fact of listening to Mr. Davis – and he is a cool cat – I’m non-plussed. It just becomes background to me and I lose any connection with it. I like jazz and want to be into it, but it’s not keeping me reeled in. Let it be written that I’m not discounting it or even saying I don’t like it, I just don’t connect with it. It’s very good and I enjoy it and I’ll even say I dig it, but um… yeah.
#357 – Between the Buttons by The Rolling Stones. This countdown, I’m sure will be heavy on Rolling Stones, Beatles and Beach Boys. I’m not a huge fan of either RS or BB but I do love the Beatles. This, however, is typical Rolling Stones. Nothing fabulous about it, really, but it is classic and a foundation of what rock and roll became through today. For that, you have to respect it. “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Ruby Tuesday” are probably the most recognized hits on this album. Dug-ish.
#356 – 12 Songs by Randy Newman. I’ve had some Randy Newman before and I liked it. He’s an entertaining songwriter and much of his stuff was taken to prominence by other artists. I was listening without watching the track listing and was thinking, “jeez, that sounds like ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come’…” and lo and behold, it was it, and it turns out he wrote that. You may have known that, Dear Reader, but not me. Color me surprised. Overall, this isn’t the bouncy, over-the-top Newman I expected, but that’s not a bad thing, just not what I expected. It jumps around some bluesy tricks whilst keeping the Newman songwriting technique. When I say not what I expected, there’s no doubting that it’s Newman. Think from here all the way down to the Pixar stuff in the 2000s; it’s Newman. Storytelling with pitch, timbre and meter; musical wordsmith, this one. I think he’ll go places. Dug!
#355 – Having a Rave Up With the Yardbirds by The Yardbirds. I’m wondering if I’ve had enough hallucinogenics to get the appeal of this. The fact is, I’ve never done a hallucinogenics, so I’ll just have to assume the answer is no. “I’m a Man” reminds me of something George Thorogood would do; I can’t listen to much Thorogood, either. I’m not saying that this is bad, though. Actually, I like “Still I’m Sad” mainly because it’s creepy and Native Americanish, not that I’m at all Native American, I just like the sound. “Train Kept a-Rollin’?” Meh. Just not my thing. I’m not putting down but I didn’t really care about this one. Not saying I didn’t like it, either, just didn’t care. Whatever.
#354 – 52nd Street by Billy Joel. I love Billy Joel. My #1 wish for VSS is for me to do So by Peter Gabriel with me as Gabriel but my #2 wish for them to do Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits I & II with me doing Billy, but Doug Davis, the All-Knowing Wizard of VSS Brigade hates Billy Joel for whatever reason so as long as he’s in charge (and I hope he’s always in charge) we probably won’t do a Billy Joel show. The album starts off with one of the most snark-filled, passive aggressive laden songs ever, “Big Shot.” Many people overlook the fact that while yes, he’s a piano playing sap at times, Billy rocks and this song is it. I love how it’s pretty much: “well, you made your bed, lie in it.” I love that and the great bass work. I know I’m not the only “over-40” that thinks of Bosom Buddies every time we hear “My Life.” Great story telling, I think. A “hey, I didn’t ask your opinion, pal” vibe and I like it. I do play some piano but he kills me. My left hand gets tired on the steering wheel trying to emulate his bouncy octaves. Wow, that sounded a lot worse than I meant. I love how he goes back and forth from the rocking tunes to the Maj7 chords and lounge-worthy fare such as, “Zanzibar,” a subtle little jazz number with some seedy nightclub atmosphere complete with a horn interlude. Lots of jazz-jamming and I like that. He’s great. DUG!
#353 – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West. If Kanye would just do this, then I’d probably have a better opinion of him. I’m not sure if it was an effect or bad production but it sounds like he’s using a cheap microphone putting his mouth right on top of the screen and blowing out the diaphram inside. I’m talking about “Gorgeous” here. It sounds like a bad AM radio remote broadcast from the 70s. And because Raekwon guests on this song, the “N” word is in it; I don’t think he knows any other words. There’s a Bon Iver guest appearance as well, one of The BCPF’s faves. But, overall, whilst I dreaded this album when I saw it, it’s not too bad. There is the “N” word but it’s not shoved down my throat the whole time. And like I have said about albums in the past, Kanye actually sings in some parts. I’m sure it’s autotuned some, but hey, at least he’s trying. Musically, the album is pretty good. But, again, as with other rap/hip-hop albums I’ve reviewed, is it truly a Kanye album? Six of the thirteen tracks are “featuring (Bon Iver, Nicki Mina, JAY-Z, Pusha T, etc).” It’s okay to have guest spots, for sure, but jeez be the highlight on the track. I hate that part of it. “Runaway” is funny, though. “Let’s have a toast to the douche bags, let’s have a toast to the @$$holes.” That’s funny. Chris Rock’s performance on the nearly ten minute epic, “Blame Game,” alone, is worth listening to the whole album. I dug but don’t really think I’ll listen again.
#352 – Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits. This album brings back a lot of memories for me. It has a plain but serene cover, with a resonator floating in a big blue sky. Two of Dire Strait’s biggest selling hits are on this album. Oddly enough, only one song, “Why Worry” wasn’t released as a single out of 9 tracks. Some of them I don’t know why they were released, but hey, that was happening a lot back then, I guess. Let’s start with the beginning: “So Far Away” was one I fast forwarded on the tape when I had it as a child (I was 14) but later started listening because of the very simple intro and the very simple progression. For me, in music, simple is good, plain is not. This wasn’t plain, but it wasn’t blaring coolness. The monster/mega-hit and MTV staple (it even says MTV in the song, over and over) “Money For Nothing” has a great intro, a kick-butt guitar riff, Sting singing about MTV and great structure. I still don’t turn it when I hear it on a radio or device. I once learned the riff but have since forgotten it. Love that song. Then comes one that used to be Eugene’s bane, “Walk of Life.” He always said it was just too danged happy. He used more choice words than that, but I keep it clean on here, yo! It starts with a that flat organ sound and goes into a brighter, happier, bouncier keyboard riff and, come to think of it, it really is too danged happy. Thanks Eug. The lyrics are sappy “be bop a lua baby” cheese but, it’s the mid-80s. I used to sit and listen to “Your Latest Trick” in wonderment. It was just a laid back song with a great sax solos and sounded like Mark Knopfler was aching badly. I could feel the emotion in it. “The Man’s Too Strong” is a great acoustic (yet bombastic) rootsy style song that seems to be something about a soldier’s struggle to carry on. Overall, I love this album but other than a few gems, I don’t know that it aged too well. That doesn’t take away from my enjoyment, just honest. DUG!!
#351 – Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young & Crazy Horse. It’s mostly live with some studio fixes and overdubs. I’ve never been a huge fan of Neil Young, although he has a definitely unique voice, it’s not my favorite; wavering on pitchy while staying dead on, but you anticipate it happening. Did he receive the “Godfather of Grunge” moniker after Cobain’s exodus and if so was it just because Kurt mentioned a line from “My My Hey Hey ?” Hmmm, I don’t know. Anywhat! I am a fan of “My My Hey Hey.” This is an easy listen, mostly laid back, acoustic and ethereal. Again, I go back to Young’s voice. In “Ride My Llama” he reminds me of Bill Dorough from Schoolhouse Rock. I like that in the songs you can hear the audience and there’s the hints of it being live but only rarely do you actually get to hear the applause and acceptance after or at the beginning of the songs. Slightly over halfway through, Young kicks in the electric heaviness. “‘Sedan Delivery’ is a job I know I’ll keep, it sure was hard to find.” That’s a great line and danged rockin’ song. Octave pedal be damned in the ending version of “Hey Hey My My.” I just realized the first one was reversed so I’ll reiterate and say that I am a fan of “Hey Hey My My” as well as the opener. MMHH is (Out of the Blue) and HHMM is (Into the Black). That’s
kind of clever. This is a really good album start to finish. I’d listen to this in the background and still sing out loud to the final track. DUG!
Another good batch of albums, and, as I stated last time, we’re getting to the meat of the countdown; sorted through the preliminaries (although I still don’t agree with many of those). The best is, supposedly, yet to come and I look forward with continuing my journey and having you in the passenger’s seat of this (very) long road trip. Let me know what you think of my thoughts, your opinions of these albums and what you’d like to see on the list that isn’t.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“My my, hey hey. Rock and roll is here to stay. It’s better to burn out than to fade away. My my, hey hey.” – Neil Young