Category Archives: posts by aaron

Jeff Beck – Beck-Ola

And now we switch to the gorgeous guitar wizardry of Jeff Beck. There’s something about these great guitar players… If you’ve ever picked up the instrument and tried to play, you know they are on a level you can’t even imagine, so much feel and expression. Jeff Beck is one of those players.

I don’t have anywhere near all of his albums, but Truth, the first solo album (prior to Beck-Ola) is one I know I need to get! I did have a used copy here, on LP, but it was not playable. Gah.

What can I say about this record other than it’s a pure classic? My old LP copy sounds just right, warm and perfect. Even the title is a play on the Rock-Ola jukebox name, the same kind my Mom had when we were kids. The music is as classic blues rock as you can get. And the players here! Not only do you get Jeff Beck, but Rod Stewart on vocals, Nicky Hopkins and Ronnie Wood (heard of the Stones?) on keys and bass guitar (!), respectively, and Tony Newman (played with a ton, including Bowie, Harrison, Clapton, on many others) on drums. Talk about an all-star cast. Man, Ronnie on that bass, stellar.

You really need to read THIS for a short history – imagine them at Woodstock! – but the Faces are an acceptable alternative by every measure, eh?

To say I love this good rockin’, good lovin’ album is an understatement. They get more done in this half hour play-length than some bands accomplish their whole career.

Pure classic.

 

 

Beck – Odelay

Here’s where Beck’s mash-up of styles and sounds took the success of Loser and won him widespread acceptance and . I mean, I heard Devil’s Haircut over the tinny speakers at my work. Hilarious to watch the customers wonder at the screaming in the ending part… anyway. Add in Where It’s At, The New Pollution, Sissyneck, and Jack-Ass (as singles) and it’s all there. Probably my favourite is Lord Only Knows, though. Novacane got a lot of play in my time, it was on a compilation CD I got at Edenfest in the 90s even though he didn’t perform at that festival. But the whole album hangs together well, and it’s probably his most popular record. It makes all kinds of Best Albums lists, not just of the 90s.

This was interesting (haha Malkmus), and the track listing is here.

And that’s the end of the Beck, for me. I know he’s grown, changed, become more… I’ve owned others of his albums –  I remember liking Sea Change well enough, and Midnight Vultures had some fun tracks. But for some reason, they don’t tend to stick around as long. And so it goes. 

 

Beck – One Foot In The Grave

Beck’s third album of 1994, and fifth release overall. While I’d say I like a collection of tracks from all three 1994 albums (I could make one kick-ass record from them), this is probably my favourite full-album listen of the three.

Info, for those who wanna know: “It was recorded prior to the release of Mellow Gold, but was not released until after that album had met critical and commercial success. One Foot in the Grave shows a strong lo-fi and folk influence, and features several songs that are interpolations or covers of songs popularized by artists like Skip James and The Carter Family.

One Foot in the Grave features production, songwriting, and backing vocal assistance by Calvin Johnson, founder of K Records and Beat Happening. It also features performances by Built to Spill members James Bertram and Scott Plouf, Love as Laughter’s Sam Jayne, as well as The Presidents of the United States of America frontman Chris Ballew.” (Wiki)

Recommended!

 

My Fallible System Is Bluesbreaking My Mind, But The Real Culprit Is My Terrible Memory

Do you ever drive yourself crazy? Well, I drive myself crazy a lot.

I was jonesing for some John Mayall & The Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (as you do). You know, the Beano album. I needed that guitar sound in my ears (as you do). 

But I checked my MP3 folder, and I didn’t have it. Huh. So, I checked my .txt list and I didn’t have it, which was odd to me. I was sure I did have it here. So, knowing I wanted an actual copy, I ordered it from Mike’s old store for $5.99, because that’s a bloody great deal. I also played it, intermittently, on YouTube while I waited for it to arrive.

It arrived. I ripped it to MP3 for the collection, then I stuck the CD in the player and heard those sweet, sweet sounds again, and my craving was fully sated.

Then I went to put the CD in the shelves… and there sat a copy of the album already. 

FFS.

One good thing about my going through everything here, I suppose, is that I can update my list, in real time, as I go. But it’ll be years (at my current rate) before I get to ‘M,’ so all this experience does is point out that my system is fallible. Whenever it arrived here, I didn’t add it to my .txt list, and I didn’t rip it to MP3. 

I also never got off my ass and checked the shelves for the disc, despite being sure I had it. As you’d imagine a person would do.

Sigh.

I guess now I have a copy for the house and a copy for the car, so that’s a win! 

 

Beck – Stereopathetic Soulmanure

Point Of Order: This should have come before Mellow Gold (yesterday), even though they were released in the same year.

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1994 was a busy year for Beck, seeing the release of three albums. Don’t be thrown by the title of this one, it’s a great record.

I was trying to think of how best to describe it, when Wiki had me covered: “Stereopathetic Soulmanure is the second studio album by American musician Beck. It was released on February 22, 1994, by Flipside. The album shows a strong folk influence, consisting of home recordings, studio recordings, live performances, field recordings, sound collages, and abstract noise experiments.

A lo-fi recording of largely anti-commercial nature, Stereopathetic Soulmanure is Beck’s third official recording, the first two being Golden Feelings and A Western Harvest Field by Moonlight.”

Precisely! I love this album, moreso than Mellow Gold. I always felt Beck was at his best being his weird self but more stripped down, bluesy acoustic tracks etc. Also, any album with a track called Rollins Power Sauce, no matter how it sounds, is alright in my books! Recommended!

 

Pages, New And Old

New!

Thanks to some thoughtful posts from Kevin, I realized I could probably make a bit more time to watch and read than I have been, on top of everything else in my day. So, under the Aaron tab at the top of the page, I’m simply going to list things to see how it goes.

You’ll find two drop down menus for this tab, Movies/TV, and Books.

Movies/TV: At this point, any movies I watch take me days, since I only watch while I’m riding the stationary bike for 30 minutes each morning. TV shows are typically one episode per night, as that’s about as long as my lovely wife and I can remain awake after the kids have gone to bed and before we, too, must rest.

Books: I usually have a book on the go, so whenever I finish one, I’ll drop it here on the list.

For both lists, the latest item will always be at the top of the list, to save scrolling, so under each year, items will appear in reverse chronological order.

I also created a tab for James (called JAMES, natch), in case he wants to add any other pages under his own name in the future!

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Old!

There was also a bit of clean-up that was needed in our header bar, so I went ahead and did that. I placed James’ “bands james has seen” list under JAMES, and generally tidied up the rest. The MASTER GRAIL LIST remains an important part of this complete KMA breakfast, and is ready to be updated should any of you require it. 

Enjoy!

Beck – Mellow Gold

Now, this takes me back to first year of university. Loser was everywhere, a drinking song for the girls on my sister floor in residence. Of course, it was gibberish but it was catchy and, when you’re drinking, catchy gibberish is fun. The whole album is kind of like that. It can not hit you at all, or not leave your brain for days.

Beck himself, in a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, said: “The whole concept of Mellow Gold is that it’s like a satanic K-tel record that’s been found in a trash dumpster, quite matter-of-factly. A few people have molested it and slept with it and half-swallowed it before spitting it out. Someone played poker with it, someone tried to smoke it. Then the record was taken to Morocco and covered with hummus and tabouli. Then it was flown back to a convention of water-skiers, who skied on it and played Frisbee with it. Then the record was put on the turntable, and the original K-Tel album had reached a whole new level. I was just taking that whole Freedom Rock feeling, you understand.

So is it just crap that got lucky? Or is it self-aware, targeted musical skill with an agenda, only masquerading as nonsense? Am I fond of this record simply because of the formative time and place in which I first heard it? Pretty much yes, to all three. 

 

Be Bop Deluxe – The Best Of And The Rest Of Be Bop Deluxe

Hmm, a 70s English rock band with prog and glam leanings, and science fiction in the lyrics? Sign me up!

This 2LP set is a great listen, pure classic in the best definition of the term. There is so much gold in the lyrics and in the music, a combination that makes this one a set I play often enough in the rotation. Everyone should know this band, they’re awesome!

 

Track Listing:

Side 1: Axe Victim / Maid In Heaven / Music In Dreamland / Sister Seagull / Sleep That Burns / Ships In The Night

Side 2: Blazing Apostles / Kiss Of Light / Dance Of The Uncle Sam Humanoids / Forbidden Lovers / Panic In The World

Side 3: Blimps / Autosexual / Lovers Are Mortal / Shine /  Quest For The Harvest Of The Stars

Side 4: Japan / Speed Of The Wind / Lights / Blue As A Jewel / Face In The Rain / Futurist Manifesto

 

Beatles – Love 2LP

I just realized: if my calculations are correct, 2 days ago (this past Thursday) was my 300th day in quarantine here in the house. This. Is. SPARTA!

Also, this post finally (finally!) sees me at the end of this long Beatles run. This was a true endurance test for me, because I’m not the world’s biggest Beatles fan and, for a guy who’s not that into the band, I seem to own a hell of a lot of it.

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The Beatles – Love

I own this 2006 2LP set and I don’t know why. I mean, I saw it cheap and thought what the hell, but I never listen to it. 

It’s a bunch of remixes of Beatles songs as a soundtrack for a Cirque De Soleil (CDS) show. Done by George Martin and his son, it was meant to reimagine the songs we all know, and that it does. It was also the last album Martin produced before his 2016 death.

It was George Harrison who had the idea to use Beatles songs with the CDS, and all parties and estates signed off on this project. So, Martin put together over 100 clips of songs (more than they actually used), and then all the stretchy people of CDS put together a show.

There were two digital bonus tracks (The Fool On The Hill, and Girl), to drive somebody like Mike nuts lol.

 You can get background and release details here. And the track list is here.

 

 

Beatles – Let It Be… Naked

Phil Spector added all sorts of extras to songs on the Let It Be album, at the time. So, in 2003, Paul McCartney organized this remix of the album, without most of those bells and whistles, bringing the album back closer to the way the band intended it. It also replaces Dig It and Maggie Mae with a version of Don’t Let Me Down.

Interestingly, Harrison approved the project before he died, but Lennon always defended Spector’s work, and Starr liked it OK, so that’s the band split down the middle on it.  It’s up to you which you prefer. Personally, I like both well enough. While I’m well used to the original album, right now I would lean more towards this release. I like the track listing better, and I like things stripped down (that’s what she said).

My copy has the extra Fly On The Wall CD, which contains 22 minutes of song excerpts and dialogue from the Let It Be sessions. It’s supposed to provide insight into the band’s work in the studio. I’ll never play it again, likely, it’s just more stuff only deep fans would care about, really, a tag-on to be complete.

You can get all the notes and such here, and the track listing here.

 

 

Beatles – Anthology 3

I’d like to give a shout-out to the Toronto Maple Leafs for winning their first game of the 2020-2021 season last night, beating Montreal 5-4 in overtime. Go Leafs!

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Here’s the third rarities and alternative takes 2CD set in this series, companion to the TV special. This one covers from the initial sessions for The Beatles (the White Album) through to the last sessions of Let It Be and Abbey Road. 

As with the other two sets, there was to be one new Lennon song here, Now And Then, but Harrison strongly disliked the track. Instead, a George Martin instrumental called A Beginning is here (originally intended as an intro to Don’t Pass Me By on the White Album). It sounds like Disney backing music, and it’s less than a minute long. You can see the rest of the track listing and notes here.

I’ll post the same thing on all three of these in the series: I acknowledge that this is hallowed ground, but this is not for day-to-day listening, unless you’re deeply into the band, and truly invested in having every single thing they ever recorded in your collection.

Not gonna lie, this has been a lot of Beatles to get through, and while I’d thought I’d begun to lose interest in hearing all this a while ago, I’m truly getting to the end of my time with this band now. Luckily, there are only two more albums here in my collection (one I like, and one I don’t remember liking), and then I can move on.

 

The KMA 2020 Stats (I Think)

I saw other blogs posting about their 2020 stats, and I would have put up ours too. However, they usually come in an email and I don’t remember seeing that… so I did some digging and I may have found the right stats (I dunno I’m no expert). 

I think I found some interesting stuff? Or not, you might not care. Still, the KMA 2020 looked like this (with 2019 stats in brackets, for comparison, in Common Stats section):


Common Stats

Views: 8193  (9753)
Visitors: 3174  (5100)
Views Per Visitor: 2.58  (1.91)
Posts Published: 305  (175)
Likes: 2509  (2102)
Comments: 2242  (1627)

* 305 posts in the year is cool, the other 60 days missed would have come before I started posting every day again (back in May).

Posts

As of today (January 13, 2021), post totals (since 2006) are:

James: 297
Aaron: 3022

* As always, Aaron is the Quantity, James is the Quality.

Posts/Pages (Views)

Home Page/Archives: 1945
Kula Shaker – Kollected: The Best Of Kula Shaker: 107
From The Early Morning: 66
A Birthday, A Quarantine, Some Tunes: 58
Five Sex-Like Album Titles: 56
Big Green Tractor Raining Down On 6th Avenue: 48
We Love You 3000: 39
Roots – Things Fall Apart: 36
Goal For 2024: 35
Life’s A Beach: 34

* An interesting mix of old and new posts, some I’d forgotten about – though let’s be fair, after 14 years doing this, that’s only natural. And hey, are there that many Kula Shaker fans still out there?

Countries

Canada: 2842
United States: 2341
United Kingdom: 1363
Germany: 335
Australia: 183
New Zealand: 169
Netherlands: 86
Nigeria: 82
Phillipines: 68
United Arab Emirates: 54

* I am always pleasantly surprised to see places like Nigeria, the Phillipines or the UAE on stats like this, as I don’t know anyone (that I’m aware of) in those places. No matter, hello to all, no matter where you are!

 

In Sum

Well, that was interesting, if not all that instructive (probably). Last year we had more Views and Visitors on far fewer posts, but these are the results of me just continually throwing shiat at the wall and seeing what sticks. Or maybe it’s all completely random, and maybe (likely) none of it matters. It’s all numbers! Lots of them! 

Thank you so much to all of our Dear Readers, wherever you are in the world, however often you check in to this wee corner of the internets. Without you, Aaron would just be gibbering into the void by himself and James, well, James would just be doing awesome James things and that’d be all cool. 

Cheers, all!

Beatles – Anthology 2

Chronologically second in the series, as tied with the Anthology TV special, Anthology 2 contains more rarities, outtakes and live performances spanning from the 1965 Help! sessions to just before their trip to India in 1968, all on 2CDs. 

As with Anthology 1, there was one new song, Real Love, which was the only Beatles song to have him as sole writer. The other three added instruments to it, but didn’t change anything else. It’s OK, sounds like them. Overall, this set is what it is, an opportunity to hear things that might otherwise would only have been bootlegged by/for deep fans. You can see notes about it here, and the track listing here.

I’ll post the same thing on all three of these in the series: I acknowledge that this is hallowed ground, but this is not for day-to-day listening, unless you’re deeply into the band, and truly invested in having every single thing they ever recorded in your collection. 

 

Beatles – Anthology 1

We’re now entering the realm of the Beatles obsessed. Released as a tie-in to the TV special series, 1995’s 2CD set Anthology 1 contains outtakes, rare tracks and live performances from 1958 (when they were The Quarrymen) through to the Beatles For Sale sessions in 1964. It even has stuff featuring original bass player Stuart Sutcliffe and original drummer Pete Best. Folks also lost their mind about Free As A Bird, the first ‘new’ Beatles track in 25 years. You can find notes about the contents here, and the track listing here.

I’ll post the same thing on all three of these in the series: I acknowledge that this is hallowed ground, but this is not for day-to-day listening, unless you’re deeply into the band, and truly invested in having every single thing they ever recorded in your collection.  

 

Beatles – Live At The BBC

The first time I was aware this existed, I was visiting a minister’s house in Glasgow, Scotland, and noticed it in his collection. I asked if it was any good. Ha, what a thing to ask a Beatles fan/holy man.

Anyway, this 2CD 1994 compilation covers stuff from the 52 BBC broadcasts of the band between 1963-1965. There are 56 songs (30 of which were previously unreleased) and 13 dialogue tracks, though 275 performances of 88 songs were broadcast (36 of which never appeared on studio albums). You can see the track listing and all the notes about it here.

Recorded live in studio, it’s mostly cover tunes and talking that aired later. This stuff was bootlegged many times before this release, and as it was the first officially unreleased stuff since 1970, this was a pretty big deal to a lot of people.

It was a slog, for me, to go through all of this stuff, essentially going back to the start when I’ve already made it though their career. Before this series, I don’t think I’ve played this since I bought it, years ago. But there was such a plethora of different songs on here, I suppose it was worth it. The things I do for you, dear Readers!

 

* There was a second set, called On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2, released in 2013. I don’t have that and, frankly, I’m in no real hurry to add it to the collection.

 

Beatles – Past Masters Volume Two

Covering 1965-1970, this disc carries on the project begun by Volume One (yesterday’s post). You get 14 tracks from UK singles, including b-sides. The “Wildlife” version of Across The Universe is from a charity album called No One’s Gonna Change Our World, and the 1970 stereo mix of The Inner Light was previously only on a limited edition 1981 EP. You also get most of the tracks (except Can’t Buy Me Love and Should Have Known Better) from the Hey Jude EP, appearing here for the first time ever on CD (it was only ever on LP and CS, previously).

All the track info (with notes) can be found here.

 

 

 

Beatles – Past Masters Volume One

This compilation, which covers 1962-1965, was released as part of the move to put the band’s stuff onto CD for the first time, in the late 80s. What’s on it?

“Although they were probably the band that most transformed rock from a singles medium to an album-oriented form, the Beatles also released many singles and EP tracks that never made it onto albums. In the U.S., Capitol turned the group’s early LPs, through Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, into compilations, more or less, throwing the hit singles onto the vinyl to augment the album tracks. When the label later released the U.K. albums on CD, it posed a problem: What to do with the non-LP singles?” (Amazon)

The answer: “The set compiles every song released commercially by the band that was not available on the Beatles’ 12 original UK albums or the US Magical Mystery Tour LP…The majority of the Past Masters set consists of A- and B-sides from the band’s singles, including single versions of songs that appeared in a different form on the band’s albums. Also included are the full contents of the UK-only Long Tall Sally EP, two German-language tracks, a song recorded for the American market and a track released on a charity compilation album.” (Wiki)

The German tracks are Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand, and Sie Leibe Dich. The US-only track was Bad Boy.

My buddy Brian had this when we were in high school and played it a lot. It’s a good set, varied enough from most Hits sets to be interesting. The track listing (with full notes on song versions) is here.

 

 

Thom’s Sign

Was browsing the Wiki for radiohead’s The King Of Limbs album (it’s what was spinning during my workout today), and was pleased to see this picture: Thom Yorke at Rough Trade in London, promoting The King Of Limbs by handing out a free newspaper. Surely the sign on the front of his booth is no coincidence. 😉

 

 

Beatles – Love Songs

A 1977, 2LP compilation, this time of love songs (natch) from 1962-1970. My copy’s one of the clear yellow vinyl issues. Pretty sure mine is one of the simulated leather and gold foil covers (feels like it to me).

I got this one for free in 2014 (along with the Red and Blue LP sets) – I told this story here. Deep geeks will want to know about different mixes used here. And the track listing is here. 

Overall it’s an OK mix, definitely a different look versus yesterday’s compilation, but I mostly keep it for the cool clear yellow vinyls. Mine are in great shape, very pretty.

 

Grail List 2021

Yup.

Hey y’all, it’s admin time! It’s been so long since we did this, so if you have a moment, have a look at the tab (at the top of the page) for the Master Grail List. 

If you have a list already on there, let me know if there are any changes/additions to be made. If you don’t have one, and there’s stuff you’re seeking, drop us a list in the comments and I’ll add it.

Remember, Grail List items are those seemingly impossible-to-find items, either in general or at decent price. The rare stuff, the ones you’ve been looking for forever. This Grail List exists so that we can all (potentially) help each other find these rare things in our travels. You never know when you’ll come across something that someone else has been wanting forever. You can make their day! COMMUNITY!

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Also, Attention Mike and John Snow:

I came across a couple of jotted notes I made during one of Mike’s live streams. If there are corrections to be made, let me know…

Mike: I added the Sandbox EP for you, and Starchild was already on there.

John: I added Need To Breathe live fan club LPs #1, 4, and 6.

Give ‘er!

Beatles – Rock ’N’ Roll Music, Volume One

This is Volume One (I don’t own Volume 2).

This 1976, 28-track, 2LP compilation has originals and about a dozen cover tunes as well. It includes “I’m Down,” which was a b-side to Help!. The band didn’t like the cover, which is shiny and contains a lot of 50s imagery, because they’re a 60s band (they were, although influenced by the 50s) and it looks cheap (it does). There’s more info on the tapes used (and George Martin’s adjustment thereof), and the single released for it, here. And you can see the track list here.

For me, the covers were the most interesting part. I’ve heard a lot of Beatles in the last while, and it was a nice break to hear them do something else.

 

 

 

Beatles – 1967-1970 (“The Blue Album”)

Companion to the 1962-1966 (The Red Album) covered yesterday, this set spans 1967-1970. I have it here on 2LP. The contents herein are in the title, and it’s chock full of stuff you know (or should know). Geoff (whose blog you need to Follow) pointed out Yesterday (see what I did there) that this set fails to cover everything needed from the period, and I agree, but every Hits set is doomed from the start when facing so many hits and other fan favourites. Still, it’s almost 100 minutes of songs no one’s arguing about any actual inclusions here.

Just like the 1962-1966, it’s an enjoyable listen, but I reached my saturation point with these guys even before the end of the studio albums in this run-through, so listening back to these compilations is overkill for me right now. Someday this’ll be just what I needed to hear, though.

 

Beatles – 1962-1966 (“The Red Album”)

Update: WP tells me that this post today is the 250th in a row, a streak (as it says). That means 250 days since I got off my ass and started writing consistently round here again. I’ve been in quarantine longer than that, too.

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To quote a song from Revolver, this album was ‘here, there, and everywhere.’ Pretty sure everyone has a copy of this, even people who aren’t really Beatles fans, because it has all of the early stuff even the passingly curious would need to get an idea of what they were about. Part one of a two-part set (stay tuned tomorrow), as the title tells you it covers 1962-1966. I have it on a rather water-damaged (not caused by me) 2LP.

The 26 tracks here are all huge. You can check them out here. Interestingly, there are no George Harrison-written tunes on this set.

 

 

 

Beatles – Hey Jude

OK, now we’re past the studio albums, it’s time for the pile of extra stuff I have here. A lot of what’s left is compilations…

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1970’s Hey Jude [I have it on LP and cassette (!)] is a bunch of non-album singles and b-sides. If I read it right, Allen Klein worked a 1969 deal for one compilation album per year (which might explain why there’s so much Beatles stuff out there). So, this comp includes songs that didn’t appear on a Capitol album in the US, and spans their whole career, though it’s mostly later stuff. A bunch got overlooked, there’s more detail here.

Here’s the tracklist:

Side A

Can’t Buy Me Love
I Should Have Known Better
Paperback Writer
Rain
Lady Madonna
Revolution

Side B

Hey Jude
Old Brown Shoe
Don’t Let Me Down
The Ballad Of John And Yoko

 

Beatles – Let It Be

The Beatles’ 12th (and final) studio album, which I own on LP and CD) was released after they broke up. Mostly stuff they’d recorded before the split (under the name Get Back), they briefly reunited for two songs, a concert on the roof of the studio, and a film (which I’ve not seen). 

As we’ll see on a later release, here Phil Spector added orchestra, choir and studio chatter to the album, as well as removing Don’t Let Me Down (already on a single) to make space for Across The Universe.  

Again, lots you already know here, including Two Of Us, Across The Universe, Let It Be, The Long And Winding Road, and Get Back. There’s slow bluesy swagger (Dig A Pony, I Me Mine), and two short idea/farts in Dig It and Maggie Mae. On Side B there’s good rockin’ (I’ve Got A Feeling, One After 909), and acoustic blues slap (For You Blue).

This record is what I imagine it’d sound like if you took the early Beatles, skipped the rest of their career but aged them that decade anyway, then told them to make a (mostly) laid-back roots-feeling record, no real druggy weirdness or mysticism. For a collection of stuff thrown together after their break-up, this was probably, oddly, the most palatable record of theirs, for me.

 

Beatles – Abbey Road

The Beatles’ 1969 11th studio album, which I have on LP and CD, has that famous cover art that’s been emulated and parodied (RHCP!) often. I’ll bet this is a favourite for a lot of folks, and in reading about it I learned that this was “…the Beatles’ only album recorded exclusively through a solid-state transistor mixing desk, which afforded a clearer and brighter sound than the group’s previous records.” Maybe that has something to do with it (not to mention all the songs you know on here). I know I love Something and Here Comes The Sun, and I don’t have a whole lot of favourite Beatles tracks, so that’s saying something. Er, Something.

“Production lasted from February to August 1969, and the closing track “The End” marked the final occasion that all four members recorded together. John Lennon privately left the group six days before the album’s release; Paul McCartney publicly declared the band’s break-up the following April.”

There was one non-album single from these sessions, The Ballad Of John And Yoko b/w Old Brown Shoe.

Once again, lots of songs we all know, including: Come Together, Something, Octopus’ Garden, Here Comes The Sun, You Never Give Me Your Money, and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window. There’s jaunty piano (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), old 50s balladry (Oh! Darling), psych blues slow jamming [I Want You (She’s So Heavy)], and vocal choir over minimal guitar (Because). 

Then it’s a Side 2 medley of eight short songs. There’s You Never Give Me Your Money, some dreamy drifting (Sun King), jangly blues (Mr. Mean Mustard), acoustic rocking over pounding drums (Polythene Pam), pretty balladry (Golden Summers), She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, uplifting group vocals (Carry That Weight), and closing the medley on the good old rockin’ of the appropriately-titled The End, the last song recorded together, but there’s also a lighter ending, with that famous line “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” 

There’s a hidden song after all this, Her Majesty, a short, jazzy-feeling goof track that slides from left ear to right ear. Personally, I’d have left it off, the message of The End was enough. But there’s (of course) a whole story about how it got left in. The band liked it, so I guess they wouldn’t have listened to me anyway.

 

Happy New Year Everyone, From Your Friendly Neighbourhood KMA!

Here’s to a prosperous, safe, and fulfilling 2021 to all of you and yours!

Get out there and kick this year’s ass, y’all.

 

Aaron’s Best Of 2020

We all know, 2020 has sucked all kinds of ways. I haven’t worked since March, so disposable income isn’t really what it might have been before. I haven’t bought a whole lot of music this year, and I’ve been very selective in my purchases.

Aaron’s Best Album Of 2020:

Pearl Jam – Gigaton

This was what I needed this year (though I’ve not yet reviewed it here, oddly). It’s angry, it’s thoughtful, and it’s of this year… I’m sure that makes sense. Pearl Jam has been there for a long time, for me, and this is their first new studio album in seven years, so it’s exciting.

When they comment on current events in their songs, it’s with purpose and smarts and clarity. They get angry, but they never totally lose hope. Also, they continually grow and change as a band while remaining fundamentally themselves, trying new things within the framework of their sound.

It’s the album I (we) needed to hear this year, and it’s damn near perfect.

***

Of course, I bought a few other things this year, and I was gifted (recently) more, so here’s a list of other 2020 stuff I have here. I have greatly enjoyed them all!

I Bought:

Gord Downie – Away Is Mine 2CD
Guided By Voices – Surrender Your Poppy Field
Guided By Voices – Mirrored Aztec
Guided By Voices – Styles We Paid For (still hasn’t arrived yet but it’s en route)
Metallica – S&M 2 (2CD/DVD)
Sloan – B-Sides Win Vol. 1 1992-1997

I Was Gifted With:

B.A. Johnston w. The Burning Hell – split 7”
Hawksley Workman – Less Rage More Tears LP (signed!)
Manipulant – Almost Elegant
Mastodon – Medium Rarities
Tom Petty – Wildflowers And All The Rest 4CD

***

Previous Years’ Winners:

2019 Tool – Fear Innoculum
2018  Sloan – 12
2017  Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter (Deluxe Edition)
2016  Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker / Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (tie)
2015  Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
2014  Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems / Sloan – Commonwealth (tie)
2013  Black Sabbath – 13
2012  Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
2011  Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton – Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At The Lincoln Center
2010  Jack Johnson – To The Sea
2009  Leonard Cohen – Live In London
2008  Metallica – Death Magnetic
2007  Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free / Immaculate Machine – Fables (tie)
2006  Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It

***

Happy New Year, everybody. Here’s to a better year in 2021 for all!

Beatles – Yellow Submarine

Apparently this was recorded before, and released after, The Beatles (White Album). I have the CD, and it’s the Beatles’ 10th studio (contractual obligation and it shows) album, and soundtrack to the animated film of the same name. It has six songs by the Beatles (four new songs, and previously-released Yellow Submarine and All You Need Is Love). The rest is orchestral work by George Martin. I gather, from minimal reading, that it hasn’t been considered a major release.

It starts with the title track, we know this one. Harrison’s clanky cacophony Only A Northern Song has interesting lyrics, cynicism about the chords and the band, because hey man, nothing is real. All Together Now has an acoustic kids song feel, counting to ten, rhyming off letters to the alphabet and other such lyrics with a repetitive chorus. They were thumbing their noses at this project, right? Hey Bulldog tries hard to be slinky and bluesy, and sort of succeeds. It’s All Too Much is a psych rock guitar feedback thing with elements changing all the time. All You Need Is Love is next, this time a stereo re-release. 

The orchestral stuff is interesting enough, in and of itself, but I doubt anyone actually listens to it all that often. Be honest. 

I always thought of this as almost a side project, not a full-on album, and I came away from this now with the same thought.

 

Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)

1968 saw (perhaps) the Beatles’ most ambitious project yet, which I own on 2LP and 2CD. A deceptively-plain white covered double album, it covers a lot of ground, from their more recent avant garde and eastern sounds back to blues, rock, country, reggae and folk. Most of the songs were written during a transcendental meditation retreat in India. This is where Yoko Ono became a major point of contention in the band too. This, among many other things (like Ringo Starr quitting the band for two weeks, and George Martin leaving for vacation during recording), was the beginning of the end. There’s lots more (recommended reading) here.

There are so many songs you already know, and tons you should. I’m truly not lazy, and I have played it through, but I honestly feel like trying to go through every track on this in words would take a lifetime, and I’m not that invested in it. So, I’ll simply list them and you can see for yourself (and explore seperately, as needed):

Side 1 

Back In The U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Wild Honey Pie
The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Side 2

Martha My Dear
I’m So Tired
Blackbird
Piggies
Rocky Raccoon
Don’t Pass Me By
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road
I Will
Julia

Side 3

Birthday
Yer Blues
Mother Nature’s Son
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter
Long, Long, Long

Side 4

Revolution 1
Honey Pie
Savoy Truffle
Cry Baby Cry
Revolution 9
Good Night

Whew. As you can see, there’s a bunch you know on here, and you’ll have already formed your own thoughts on them. For me, this was such a wide, varied listen, taken in one sitting, that it was actually sort of hard to get a handle on it. It’s kind of exhausting, if you let it in. 

There were songs I knew from years ago and hadn’t heard since, songs I actually like (While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Yer Blues, for example), hits we all know, many we should probably know, tracks with huge history (Helter Skelter, and Charles Manson’s subsequent misinterpretation, etc)… Yeah, it’s a lot.

Of note, Hey Jude and Revolution (not the same as Revolution 1 or 9 on the album) were released seperately as a single before the album’s release, so they do not appear on the album proper.

In the final analysis, I didn’t mind the album, but I’d have to break it up into chunks for future listens. Maybe a side at a time, or at most one record at a time, because it’s too much for me in one go. I’m not that invested in the band, though I do “get it.”

I think.

 

My New Other Other Other Other Other Other Other Other Woman

* I really need to come up with a new way of describing my other women. It’s a lot of Others, at this point!

I usually get a couple of CDs, books, shirts, and my Hockey News subscription renewed for Christmas. For me, even that’s lots. Watching the kids’ excitement on Christmas morning is the best gift ever. 

Because of that damn virus, and how it’s kept things apart and up in the air, my folks decided they would make Christmas super-special, one to remember… by going overboard.

My one gift this year? Meet my brand new Epiphone ES-335 Pro Custom Shop Limited Edition in blue burst, with pro alnico vintage humbucking pickups, and coil-tapping on both pick-ups! 

How did they know this was a dream of mine? I must’ve been rattling on about it, and my Mom says she only remember three things: 335, which used to be our telephone exchange at our place when I was growing up, that it was blue, and that it was near-enough to Lucille. The dude in the shoppe knew exactly the one, and took her right to it. He even remembered me in the shoppe ogling it. It was meant to be…

 

 

My folks said they wanted this year to be memorable, and they sure succeeded! My mind is still blown!

This is my first semi-hollow electric, and it’s such a gorgeous example. She plays like a dream, sounds great, and looks the business. 

I can’t even begin to express my thanks and joy at this addition to my life!

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour

A double EP in the UK (because why not), and an LP in the US, this 1967 collection includes the soundtrack to the TV film of the same name plus a few extra songs. It carries on the studio trickery they’d started on Sgt. Pepper’s, and the substance-inpired pscyhedelic leanings present since Revolver, all while the band went deeper into their transendental meditation practices with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

I have this on LP and CD, but have probably only played it once before this. There are tracks here we all know, like the flute-driven The Fool On The Hill, the fuzzy druggy I Am The Walrus (“No you’re not!”, said little Nicola), and the repetitive but sweet Hello, Goodbye with its hilariously bad video. There’s also Strawberry Fields Forever, which is fun because we saw it in Central Park, and Penny Lane (both previously on single format), and the sweet message of All You Need Is Love. I like its time signature. 

The title track shifts a bunch, and repeats itself a ton, but hey. Flying Is a trippy blues until it just fades away pointlessly. Blue Jay Way gives me a chuckle, because there’s a steet/path in front of Skydome (er, whatever it’s called now) in Toronto, clearly an homage to the song and a nod to the team. But the song itself keeps the slow psych fart blues going, slow and dragging until its midpoint, where it speeds up and gets weirder. Clearly they only used the title for association… Your Mother Should Know brings back a bit of their more normal sound, repetitive and sweet enough, and gets clearer as it goes on. Baby, You’re A Rich Man’s guitars hold it together as it bangs along.

The LP is cool, with the booklet pages inside, etc. It’s why we like LPs, the packaging is larger and usually cooler, right? Yeah. Also, it’s an interesting thought to me, over these last couple of records, that when you hear these weirder, far-out tracks on a Hits set they seem cool enough, but a whole album of them requires far more forgiveness and patience.

 

Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles’ 8th studio album, in 1967 (which I own on CD and LP), has been considered a critical part of the Summer Of Love, and 60s culture in general. A double a-side single of Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever was released, and both songs were left off the album. Insanity. Anyway, there’s a heap more you should absolutely read right here.

Lots of songs here you know (not to mention the aforementioned single), like the title track, With A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, When I’m Sixty Four, and A Day In The Life. There’s bluesy pop rebellion with pretty dark content (Getting Better), deceptive simplicity (Fixing A Hole), and sadness (She’s Leaving Home). More, there’s a wacky carnival tale (Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!), and more Eastern mysticism fascination (Within You Without You), a jaunty goofy love song (Lovely Rita), and a compressed trip into twisted rock (Good Morning Good Morning). The title track is reprised, too.

Taken as a whole, this record is quite a trip. Being in the studio with no time limit certainly changed and/or solidified their approach. Throw in their continuing maturation, mystic quests, probably some great drugs, and the general collapse of the 60s, and you’ve got this heady soup of an album. The Beatles you’ve known to this point are still in there, in spades, but the presentation is forever altered now, methinks.  

 

Beatles – Revolver

The Beatles 7th studio album (which I have here on LP and CD) was recorded in 1966. It was “the Beatles’ final recording project before their retirement as live performers and marked the group’s most overt use of studio technology to date, building on the advances of their late 1965 release Rubber Soul. It has since become regarded as one of the greatest and most innovative albums in the history of popular music, with recognition centred on its range of musical styles, diverse sounds, and lyrical content.

Also, some say it was “the start of the group’s psychedelic period, the songs reflect their interest in the drug LSD, Eastern philosophy and the avant-garde while addressing themes such as death and transcendence from material concerns. With no plans to reproduce their new material in concert, the band made liberal use of automatic double tracking, varispeed, reversed tapes, close audio miking, and instruments outside of their standard live set-up.

Yeah, that’s a lot of copy-paste from Wiki but it’s better than me trying to make it sound like I know what the hell I’m talking about!

Combined with Rubber Soul, though, I finally feel like they’d managed to progress past their boy band poppy selves and into an album-length interesting band. A lot of the tracks here are miles away from stuff from only three years before… imagine falling into a coma loving their She Loves You period, then waking up and hearing trippy stuff like Tomorrow Never Knows… you’d think it was two different bands! Well, at least until you heard Got To Get You Into My Life, but it must’ve been hard to completely shift away from their early moneymaker. 

I knew every song here, so my Mom must’ve played her copy of this a lot. I thought Taxman and Eleanor Rigby ended a little early, and Yellow Submarine was just goofy. Good Day Sunshine was simple, almost like a kids album track. But Here, There And Everywhere and For No One were nice, and even the wonky piano of I Want To Tell You kept things interesting. 

In Sum: The point of my going through all of these albums is to give them a fair shake in 2020, to see if my general preference for things other than this band holds true. It’s not to win me over, to make me regret my years of generally avoiding them. So far, I do much prefer stuff like this to their early pop, but not all of it grabbed me completely. Your mileage will vary. I do acknowledge their spirit of adventure, though.

 

2020 Has Definitely Tried Our Patience, By And Large, But Christmas Day Most Assuredly Did Not Suck For Many Many Reasons

The Beatles still have to wait. This is more important. 

***

Our area still has (relatively) low Covid numbers when compared with areas not too far down the road. For this reason, we have been able to remain bubbled with my parents, just the six of us, so we’ve been able to help them out these past few months, and we were still able to have Christmas together yesterday. Given the new lockdown in Ontario begun today, we will be unable to travel to my lovely wife’s Mom’s for Christmas, but as soon as that ban is lifted, so is our postponement, and we’ll be there too!

One beautiful part is the snow. On the 24th, we had virtually no snow. Green lawns everywhere, though there were some recalcitrant wee piles of snow on the edges. We woke yesterday to a beautiful white Christmas, and huge lovely flakes fell all day. Magic. This morning we woke to a special notice from the county that we’re now in the middle of an Extreme Weather Event with winds over 60 km/h and with at least 40cm of accumulation expected. Travel is not recommended, and even then only essential travel. The county says the snowplows can’t keep up. Since we’re home and safe and warm, I think this is all beautiful! 

What a day we had yesterday. The food was excellent, and the company was even better. A sense of normalcy in a weird, not normal year. It’s all about the kids, of course, and they were spoiled rotten (as well they should be). But this was also the first year our kids bought gifts for others with their own money, and they loved being able to give. They’re such generous and thoughtful souls. Santa brought our daughter a pink ¾ Squier Strat and a wee Vox Pathfinder amp, for her rock ‘n’ roll dreams…  For me, just having folks together for the day was truly gift enough, in these times, and yet I also received music glory, and a true work of art as a gift from my parents…

I’ll look more closely at these things in future posts, but as pure reportage, yesterday brought me these treasures…

From James, my KMA brother, a parcel from SK brought me the newest (signed!) Hawksley Workman LP called Less Rage More Tears. It’s so beautiful. Plus, a B.A. Johnston split EP with The Burning Hell, limited edition in snot green vinyl, which has Side A: B.A. Johnston – I Want To Drink In A Bar With Aliens, and Quarantine Supreme, b/w The Burning Hell – I Want To Drink In A Bar. SO AWESOME THANK YOU JAMES!

 

 

My lovely wife gifted me with two musical things I must’ve been raving about wanting to get at some point: Mastodon’s Medium Rarities compilation CD, and Tom Petty’s Wildflowers And All The Rest deluxe 4CD set! I love Mastodon, and that Tom Petty is one of my favourite albums of his, and this looks to have a pile of extra tracks, home recordings and live tracks too, all over 4 CDs!

 

 

You can click this image to make it bigger!

And then my parents, who just wanted Christmas to help us all feel better about this past year, completely blew me away. I got a guitar! And not just any guitar.. It’s an Epiphone Custom Shop ES-335 Pro Limited Edition in blue burst! I was utterly gobsmacked. I never expected something so huge. I was happy just to be there and enjoying the day… It is just so beautiful, I can’t believe they did this and that this work of art is actually here and in my hands! I’ll do a full post on her in the near future, of course!

Merry Christmas, indeed!

 

 

Merry Christmas From Your Friendly Neighbourhood KMA

No Beatles today. It’s a holiday!

As the shite show that has been 2020 winds down to its last noxious, gassy fart, James and I hope you have a very merry holiday (however you choose to celebrate), and a most excellent new year!

P.S. We know you’ve been good. Look what Santa brought you:

 

Beatles – Rubber Soul

The Beatles’ 6th studio album, which I have on LP and CD, has ten of the fourteen songs and two tracks withheld from Help! previously. I didn’t know that the album title derives from “plastic soul,’ a colloquialism acknowledging their own feelings of lacking authenticity compared to African-American soul artists they admired. 

This, too: Rubber Soul was highly influential on the Beatles’ peers, leading to a widespread focus away from singles and onto creating albums of consistently high-quality songs. It has been recognised by music critics as an album that opened up the possibilities of pop music in terms of lyrical and musical scope, and as a key work in the creation of styles such as psychedelia and progressive rock. (Wiki)

For me, this is where it finally started to get interesting on a level where I pay more attention. I think it has to do with the feel of the album, gentler and more thoughtful, overall. There are also new instruments and arrangement options here than previously, and I can dig that. Even the love songs are more mature, with less sap and more experience. Is this where they finally grew up? I guess we’ll see!

And there are a ton of songs you know here, like Drive My Car, Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, I’m Looking Through You, and In My Life. My Dad used to sing the hook line from Michelle all the time, often to himself without really being aware he was doing it (and with mangled French). There are clunkers, like What Goes On’s atonal underwhelming blues, or the plod of Girl, or Run For Your Life’s incredibly dark lyrics (!), but tracks I didn’t remember, such as the swing of Wait, or the early-psych of If I Needed Someone, make up for it. 

You know something, objectively, this wasn’t a bad album. In fact, this combination of elements made it the most palatable for me, thus far. Only took 6 records to do it, ha!

 

Beatles – Help!

Here we hit the first gap in my Beatles stack – I do not own their fourth studio album, Beatles For Sale. My collector’s brain calls this an oversiiiiiight, but I also feel a general shrug, like, if I see a cheap regular copy of it in good condition some day, I’ll grab it. So, instead, we move on to their fifth studio album…

***

This is a soundtrack to the film of the same name (which won’t be covered here). Seven of the fourteen songs here are in the film. Here in North America the LP had those seven songs and the instrumental music from the film, while the other seven songs were spread over Rubber Soul and Beatles VI. Can you tell I’m quoting Wiki? These differences in releases hurt my head.

My LP and CD copies have the fourteen album tracks. The title track and Ticket To Ride we all know well. Yesterday is probably one of their biggest songs, and it still sounds alright to me (I never minded it, maudlin as it can be at times). Last time I heard You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, it was a decent cover by Eddie Vedder. I do like this song, it’s somehow more stripped back and clear. Beatles unplugged, ha.

 You’re Gonna Lose That Girl sounds like a 50s sock hop track, Act Naturally is country (I know), and Dizzy Miss Lizzy tries to bring back Twist And Shout attention. A couple of the songs, like You Like Me Too Much and I’ve Just Seen A Face have great intros that morph jarringly into very different-sounding songs, not sure what’s up with that. The rest are, to me, interchangeable with the teenager love note songs from albums previous.

I’m glad they kept that better production they finally achieved on Hard Day’s Night, and overall I didn’t mind the album. There are actually songs I like, here. I still find myself wanting to skip the insipid relationship songs, grown men singing like they’re fourteen years old. I know it sold records, but here in 2020, in my mid-40s, those sound like a waste of the resources they had at their disposal.

 

Beatles – The Beatles’ Story 2LP

Still in 1964, with this one. Not even sure why I own it.

Mostly a talking record, you get brief bios of the members and Brian Epstein, short interviews, cheesy elements galore, but hey, if it works it works. There are short song clips as well. Production notes, the Hard Day’s Night movie, and nothing about Pete Best, among many other things. If you’re curious, the whole track listing is here.

Will I ever play this again? Probably not. 

 

Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night

That opening chord… The band’s third studio album, the first where all songs were Lennon/McCartney. Side one is songs from their film of the same name (which won’t be covered here), though our North American release (my old LP has the cover pictured at left) had a different track listing (of course). 

My Mom still has her old original LP from the 60s, I remember it well. Consequently, there are fewer unknown or deep cuts here for me. Every single song is their template high school love poetry lyrics, but that’s the bread and butter that kept the girls screaming, so naturally it’s everywhere. Also, paradoxically, this sounds somehow more mature. It must be the production, the actual sound, but it improves the experience. I may also not know a damn thing about any of this. Your mileage will vary.

 

Beatles – Long Tall Sally lp

According to Wiki, in 1964 this mono LP was released as the final album to be released exclusively in Canada. After this release, Beatles’ records in Canada would match the group’s US releases (it was a mess before this).  This has almost the same cover as the US release of The Beatles Second Album.

To further muddy the waters, it was deleted in 1967, but reissued in 1971 with two other albums in Capitol’s ‘6000 Series,’ and again in 1976 in “Dual mono/simulated stereo,” which put higher frequencies on the right side and lower on the left.

It’s a compilation of originals and covers, with two tracks from the UK EP Long Tall Sally, and four tracks from Beatlemania! With The Beatles. See why all of this stuff hurts my head? The differences in releases (covers, track listings, names) is a real pain only deep fans will care to sort out and collect.

For all that, this is a decent-enough listen. 

 

Side A: I Want To Hold Your Hand / I Saw Her Standing There / You Really Got A Hold On Me / Devil In Her Heart / Roll Over Beethoven / Misery

Side B: Long Tally Sally / I Call Your Name / Please, Mr. Postman / This Boy / I’ll Get You / You Can’t Do That

 

Beatles – With The Beatles

Just eight months after dropping their debut, the Beatles released their second album before 1963 was over. It contains seven songs written by Lennon/McCartney, one George Harrison tune, and 6 cover songs. Naturally, so close together, the sound continues over from the debut, all jangly guitars, vocal harmonies, lovelorn or in-love lyrics, and that early rock beat.

There are hits, of course, and songs we all know. What I’d consider deep cuts (but which are probably beloved tracks) carry the torch ably enough. Even songs you may not have heard before seem to pull you in to that sound and, despite knowing it kind of sounds like many others you’ve already heard, you’ll somehow still stick it out til the end. 

 

Beatles – Please Please Me

This next bit is going to be interesting.

I don’t choose to play this band’s music, in my day-to-day, yet I own a pile of it. Why? Nostalgia? I grew up on the Beatles songs from my Mom’s jukebox (she says those 45s are my inheiritance). Is it because the music collector in me knows they are a part of this complete breakfast? Or because of Boomer-dominated culture saying I should?

In fact, the Boomers will swear to their graves that this is the best band ever. Me? Before diving into this part of the series, I say they’re OK, but I prefer the darker blues of the Stones. Yeah I know.

I don’t even know if I’ll get the chronology right – their discography is a mess, between UK and US releases so, if these posts are out of order, it’s just me not getting it right.

Alright, here we go into an interesting corner of my collection – stuff I own, but why?

***

So this is the debut, from 1963. I tried my best to imagine hearing this for the first time as a teen in 1963, how formative it would have been, of course remembering that rock and roll as we know it was still relatively nascent and fresh, then. I can see how it would capture folks, there are certainly hummable melodies, and there are major hits (and shoulda-beens) here. Wiki says 8 of these 14 songs were McCartney/Lennon. 

Starting an album with “She was just 17, and you know what I mean” (I Saw Her Standing There) has always been creepy, and “I love you because you tell me things I want to know” (Ask Me Why) doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship, but throughout the album they’re mostly just trying out all the current styles to see what would stick. There are poppy rockers, maudlin ballads, cover tunes, and those mid-tempo 60’s radio tunes that were everywhere. Some of it is smart, and some of it is definitely high school drippery. Understandable, on a debut album.

From a guitar perspective, though, this is a wealth of that (now vintage) Vox chime beauty, and one could probably get a whole education in early guitar rock from a record like this. I found my ear going more to the guitar lines than anything they were singing about.

Overall, I’m not a convert because of this, but it is what it is, and it’s quite good for what it is.

 

Barenaked Ladies – Snacktime!

This one wasn’t in the stacks, per se, but  kept with the old kids stuff. It’s BNL’s children’s songs CD, which we used to play for the kids at times many years ago.

It starts out with (why was 6 afraid of 7? because) 7 8 9, and goes from there. Tunes like The Ninjas, Pollywog In A Bog, My Big Sister, and Here Come The Geese all got played and are floating around somewhere in our kids’ memories. And let’s be real, BNL are perfect for singing kids songs.

My favourite song title is the Gordon Lightfoot tribute of The Canadian Snacktime Trilogy, which even has three parts (as it should). “All The Barenaked Children got to sing on this record as wll, which is a fun inclusion of their own families.

It pays to read the liner notes, where you’ll find thanks to the Snacktime Hotline callers, including Geddy “BBQ Potato Chips” Lee, Lyle “Watermelon” Lovett, Sarah “Chocolate” McLachlan, Matin “Olives” Tielli, David “Sembei” Suzuki, Jason “Mac and Cheese” Priestly, Gord “Peanut Butter And Crackers” Downie, “Pickled Eggs” Bubbles, ‘Weird Al’ “Honey Roasted Peanuts” Yankovic, Janeane “Microwaved Chocolate Doughuts” Garafalo, and Gordon “Pasta” Lightfoot.

This record was released 2008, our son was born 2009, so the timing was perfect.

 

Hawksley Workman – NICE LIGHTS!

Part of the Hawksley Night In Canada concert we watched the other night was Hawksley’s walk around his neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights. My kids saw this part and loved it. Without a doubt, “NICE LIGHTS” has entered the family lexicon!

I love that someone in the YT comments for this video counted 60 times that he says it, in a 5.5 minute video. This is just Hawksley being Hawksley, with bright, genuine humour and good clean fun. This is what we need right now. 

NICE LIGHTS!

Barenaked Ladies – Enid

Well, it had to happen eventually that I would miss things, in my alphabetical run through this stuff. I’ve waited until the end of the Beasties to add in these last couple of BNL things I found in the stacks…

This is a cassette single of the song Enid, from their first album (Gordon). Yup, cassettes are so hot right now… Anyway, Enid is a fun, bouncy, end-of-romance-type song, and this is just the album version. I think I read/heard somewhere that the name came about because the guys were in a restaurant, saw a sign that said DINE, reversed the letters, and wrote a song about ENID.

But it’s the b-side that’s interesting: it’s their perennial hit If I Had $1000000, which we’ve all heard a zillion times. However, this one is live, recorded April 27, 1991 by CFNY Discovery Mobile Recording Studio at the El Mocombo, on Spadina in Toronto. It was unavailable on the album.

For that reason, I don’t know if this cassette single is rare, there aren’t any copies available on Discogs, nor is there information on previous sales. The CD single version, which contains these two songs plus two more, seems to start around $20 CDN (today), so who knows.

 

OMG they’re so young!

Beastie Boys – Beastie Boys Book

Like everything else they ever did, this book is done with flair, energy, humour, creativity, honesty, and typical Beasties brilliance. If you’re a fan at all, you’ll know the broad stokes of their story, but we can all find so many things we didn’t know before.

To save me time typing, from Amazon: “Alongside the band narrative you will find rare photos, original illustrations, a cookbook by chef Roy Choi, a graphic novel, a map of Beastie Boys’ New York, mixtape playlists, pieces by guest contributors [like Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Wes Anderson, Luc Sante (and Jonathan Lethem, Ada Cahoun), and more], and many more surprises.”

This book is absolutely chock full of goodness, a museum on paper. If you’re inclined to dig and truly pay attention, there are hours to be spent here – this book is almost 600 pages! They do cover tougher parts too, like Rick Rubin and original member Kate Schellenbach… they do seem to feel bad about some of the early days stuff.

It’s impossible to overstate the impact and effect the Beastie Boys had on hip hop, popular culture, and music in general. Their fearless energy and creativity was unstoppable, and this autobiography from Ad Rock and Mike D captures that lightning in a bottle.

Aaaaaand I think (I think) that’s the end of my Beasties stuff here. Whew! What a great time!

 

 

Beastie Boys – Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That

In October of 2004, the Beasties gave a show at Madison Square Garden in NYC. To film it, instead of using the conventional method, and being the creative souls they always were, they handed out 50 DV and Hi-8 cameras to fans in attendance, who filmed during the show. Then Adam Yauch/MCA (Nathanial Hörblowér) edited the footage into this DVD film of the concert.  Brilliant!

The DVD contains: “full-length ‘grid’ alternate angle, world tour intros and shout-outs, ‘a day in the life of Nathanial Hörnblowér’ featuring David Cross, Jerome Crooks’ angry world, band commentary, a capell vocal tracks, special ‘hidden detours’ feature, oh yeah, and the movie trailer with the cool Hollywood voice-over.”

It’s 1h 29m of pure Beastie Boys mayhem and brilliance. So much fun!

 

 

Beastie Boys – Video Anthology

While I’m all done with what I have of the Beasties on CD, there are a couple of other goodies here in the stacks that require coverage as well…

This, Criterion Collection’s 100th DVD release (and their only music release so far), is a 2DVD set which contains such a wealth of video goodness, the mind boggles. Not only were the Beasties great at making records, but their music videos were made with thought, care, fun, and craft. Even more, each video here offers multiple angles and audio mixes, all (remote) controlled by your TV’s remote. They are true music fans, so they know how to treat their own fans right!

DVD1: Intergalactic / Shake Your Rump / Gratitude / Something’s Got To Give / Sure Shot / Hey Ladies / Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun / Body Movin’ / So What’cha Want

DVD2: Sabotage / Shadrach / Three MCs And One DJ / Ricky’s Theme / Pass The Mic / Holy Snappers / Root Down / Netty’s Girl / Alive

 

Glory!

Hawksley Workman – Hawksley Night In Canada #5: At Christmas

What a true Christmas gift!

My lovely wife and I both love to listen to Hawksley, and we’ve been to see him in concert a couple of times. We haven’t been able to go to shows, so she booked me a seat at his online Hawksley Night In Canada Christmas show last night, my first ever time attending. Brilliant!

This was #5 in his online series. Flanked either side by a lovely Christmas tree on one side and Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree on the other, and introduced by Ron McLean, Hawksley introduces Mr. Lonely on the keys (yay!). They dive straight into a great take of Claire Fontaine. Next it was Learn How To Knit and A House Or Maybe A Boat. All favourites around here!

First Intermission: We’re introduced to Lucinda Hawksley (they’re looking for a familial connection), who gave us a brief look at some cool sites around London, covid edition. Back to the room, they play Common Cold, The Rebel Jesus (I guess it’s called), and a truly funky awesome version of one of my favourite-ever Hawksley songs, Safe And Sound. 

Second Intermission: Fans submitted pictures of their pets (mostly cats and dogs, though a couple of chickens and guinea pigs), so we saw a montage of all the cuteness with music in the background. Then Hawksley takes us for an hilarious, quick wander around his neighbourhood to check out all of the festive Christmas lights. NICE LIGHTS!!

More songs to come! This segment starts with First Snow Of The Year, then Almost A Full Moon (Let’s Make Some Soup), and the classic Three Generations. All three were superb. Naturally!

Third Intermission: Hawk Talk sees Hawksley receiving phone calls from fans, from Halifax, Edmonton, Toronto, Rocky Mountain House, and others. It was lovely to hear them just checking in, keeping it cool, connecting in general. Then Ron McLean came back to show off a couple of his hockey LPs (I thought of my Bobby Orr LP).

Three more songs to end the gig: Snowmobile, with it’s excellent line about not knowing the ratio for gas and oil but now it’s too late to ask, haha! Ice Age was gorgeous, complete with harmonica solo. And finally, Merry Christmas (I Love You), and we all knew it was heartfelt. 

True greatness.

***

This show reminded me of the old Knox Acoustic Cafe shows we used to see here in my town, more specifically the house concerts we attended. It’s comforting and warm, close and connected. I can’t think of any other artist who sounds like, or whose music makes me feel like Hawksley does, and we love him!

Thank you to my lovely wife for this concert ticket gift!

rhymeallnight.com/

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