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Ashley MacIsaac – Hi(™) How Are You Today? Special Edition

This is a bit of a cool find, a 10th anniversary re-release of this Canuck classic. I already own this album (don’t we all, eh Canucks?), and I even wrote a brief blurb on it in 2015:

Ashley MacIsaac – Hi How Are You Today?

Controversial fiddler (it was fun typing that!) hits it big by combining east coast celtic roots and pop-rock. This hit Canada just right in the mid-90s. You’ll know Sleepy Maggie, and probably others if you were anywhere near this CD at the time. I give him a cool cred nod for his cover of Bob Snider’s What An Idiot He Is. Saw him on this tour – he had a cold and blew his nose on the crowd (nice one, Ashley). Still a very listenable record in 2015.

Yup. I still agree. Many, many cool tracks on this one, This was one of those albums when I was in college, it was everywhere.

The full album is here, of course, and there’s still so much to love about it:

Beaton’s Delight Strathspey / Sleepy Maggie / Rusty D-con-STRUCK-tion / The Devil In The Kitchen / MacDougall’s Pride / Spoonboy / What An Idiot He Is / Sophia’s Pipes / Sad Wedding Day / Wing-Stock / Hills Of Glenorchy / Brenda Stubbert.

And since I wasn’t apparently bothered to tell you this in that first blurb, this is from Wiki:

The album was produced by Michael Phillip Wojewoda and Peter Prilesnik. Guest musicians on the album included Mary Jane Lamond, Gordie Johnson, Graeme Kirkland, Ian Blurton, Chin Injeti, Gordie Sampson, Chris Brown and the bands Jale and Quartetto Gelato.

So what makes this a special edition? Four extra versions of Sleepy Maggie! Because we all need that.

First up is The Sandman Mix, which turns it into a Morcheeba-like trip-hop version, though it retains its tempo whereas I can’t help but feel that most artists in the genre would slow it down. Still, this is a cool listen.

Next it’s The Deep Sleep Mix, definitely at a slower pace, more relaxed and dream, with wee bits of electronics tossed in and a cool synth line too. Dance-y!

Then we get The BKS Chameleon Boom Mix 1, which ramps up the speed beyond what’s required, but that’s because we’re going clubbing, baby! Instead of full lyrics, they just looped the one line and made it into a 4 bar loop that last a while, then the bass line rides along under the fiddle bit… holy techno, Batman.

Lastly, it’s The BKS Chameleon Boom Mix 2 is also a techno dance track, but the throbbing beat lies underneath rattling guitar and a very loud, haunting fiddle sample. By the time the vocals come in, it’s full swing club mayhem. Lots of little bits in the breakdown, huge bass. Whoa.

In Sum:

The album remains fantastic. The bonus tracks… well… Did I need this? No. But for $1, curiosity won me over.

And I’ve now heard way more Sleepy Maggie than any one person needs to hear in one sitting. But these are the loving lengths to which I’ll go to bring you news from the front lines, Dear Readers.  Give ‘er!

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Anthrax, Ashley MacIsaac, Atomic Fireballs

Sharp-eyed readers will notice I’ve begun numbering the albums, to accompany the review post numbers (and yes I went back and did yesterday’s post too). I thought it might be fun to keep track this year and see how many I manage to do. If I keep a pace of 5 per day, that’s over 1800 records! Ha, we’ll see about that.

But rest assured, I am playing all of these albums. True, some that I already know well I can do quicker scans to refresh my memory, but new-to-me records get the full spin. It’s a beautiful life to have so much music so easily accessible! The real work lies in trying to encapsulate a full record in a paragraph – the songs, the production, my impressions… I find myself writing them up full and then culling for the best bits. But I will prevail on this mission…

Anthrax – Among The Living

The first three tracks I already knew, and they’re sheer brilliance. The rest is just as good. Seriously, I didn’t hear a song here that was even close to mediocre. To my ears, this is high energy, riff-heavy full-throttle drumming thrash metal (sometimes by way of punk) fun. I had such a blast spinning this restless slice of majesty!

Anthrax – Persistence Of Time

This is a solid album. I loved the riffs and I believe the structural integrity is there. I liked the roomier bottom end sound. A highlight for me was the instrumental Intro To Reality going straight into Belly Of The Beast. Maybe an inspiration for Mastodon? I can hear it in there. There’s even a cover of Joe Jackson’s Got The Time, which was good fun. This is a very different record from Among The Living, and it’s that difference that makes it very impressive indeed. Well done.

Ashley MacIsaac – Hi How Are You Today?

Controversial fiddler (it was fun typing that!) hits it big by combining east coast celtic roots and pop-rock. This hit Canada just right in the mid-90s. You’ll know Sleepy Maggie, and probably others if you were anywhere near this CD at the time. I give him a cool cred nod for his cover of Bob Snider’s What An Idiot He Is. Saw him on this tour – he had a cold and blew his nose on the crowd (nice one, Ashley). Still a very listenable record in 2015.

Ashley MacIsaac – Fine Thank You Very Much

Ashley wasted no time putting out this aptly-titled follow-up to his big smash record (see above). But instead of trying (successfully or not) to recapture the magic of that release, he throws a change-up and drops an excellent disc of traditional music. These are jigs, reels, airs, strathspeys, clogs… often together in the same song. It’s a great listen and very well done.

Atomic Fireballs – Torch This Place

This is another of my late-90s swing revival favourites. The growly vocals of John Bunkley are fun, and I really dig this band’s jump blues style! You might know their fun cover of David Bowie’s Magic Dance (from Labyrinth), here called The Man With The Hex, and maybe Spanish Fly, but the whole record is a great big swingin’ dance party!

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