Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Sinking Of The Titanic - Gavin Bryars

This is the 1975 album by Gavin Bryars. It's very out of print, thanks for Spotify I was able to find it. Both pieces on this record happen to be his best know works , and they are for a reason. This also happens to be his debut album, one which I have to say is a pretty great one at that. Considering how Easter is today I decided to publish a review with some religious tones or themes in the album. Why not, I decide if I want to or not. So without further a due I give you the review for the album aforementioned in the title of this post.
  1. The Sinking Of The Titanic: While I didn't enjoy this as much as the next track I can none the less say its impact on me. The theme in the song is fricken great. One thing i should point out is I've also heard the hour long version from the 90's or 2000's. There is a beauty to the swells in this track. It moves slowly, but has a feeling of, to be honest, death. Like I know that the title might help set up what's happening, but there is a feeling that this would be perfect at the sinking of the Titanic in Titanic. This almost sounds like a variation of Amazing Grace (at parts). Through it's 24 minute run time, it feels like it's..... I feel like it's like, I fell like this kind of is what it'd be like to know your going to die. This was inspired by the fact the band supposedly played until they sunk, they knew they wouldn't make it out. So it's like they are playing to the end.There is a moment in there where it sounds like they went under water, about 8 minutes in, but then the strings come back again. There is a muffled sort of ambiance surrounding the piece. Kind of like your underwater, or the adrenaline (like in movies) is "slowing time down". I don't think it's as good as the next piece, but it's still worth the listen.
  2. Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet: This song is famous for it's title and story. A homeless man on the street said this and they recorded it and looped it. But his voice makes it so touching, and when the strings come it it sounds like something that I could see being in a Disney movie. It's a very pretty simple arrangement, but the feeling of the slowly moving orchestra makes it get louder and more intense. Not in the way that it's angry, but in the way that it's touching. when the acoustic guitar (played by my boy Derek Bailey) comes in the background it's great and adds to it even more. There are numerous versions, the original 25 minutes LP version (because of limitations), but it was in it's entirety 40 minutes. Then he made a 60 and 74 minutes version. For some reason, though I doubt I'd listen to it one an endless loop, it isn't that bad of a 25 minutes to spend on a song. It's very simplistic an pretty. Sometimes the prettiest stuff is the simplest. This this is slow it's definitely worth the listen.
Overall I have to give this album a 8/10. While I prefer the second track, I can't deny this album has had an influence on me. This thing is actually a pretty solid listen and it doesn't feel like the songs drag on much, or at all. The songs build and don't over stay their welcome. This isn't Einstein on the Beach. I actually prefer this to Ambient 3 (even though there were some interesting sounds on it). 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hard Nose the Highway - Van Morrison

Today happenes to be St. Patrick's Day. The made up holiday that is an excuse for Irish people to get drunk. I'm very Irish, something like 30-40% maybe more. Its the biggest chunk of what I am. So I decided why not celebrate my heritage with a quick and easy review. And I was gonna save the Thin Lizzy one for next year. This album I chose happens to be the seventh studio album by Irish singer/songwriter George Ivan Morrison (better known as Van Morrison). This is notable for it's fucking amazing album art, seriously look at this picture. And then look on Discogs for the full artwork. Which I couldn't find a decent version if the cover. While I like this album, I'd buy it alone based on the artwork. The other notable thing is the fact that this is the first album he released as a solo artist with a song not written by him. Okay, so now that that bull shit is taken care of, let's review this often considered low point and mark decline in his peak years.
  1. Snow in San Anselmo: One of my favorite songs I ever heard the first time I heard it. It's also the first song by this guy I heard and I was confused by. I mean I have been impressed by how I like or respect some of his songs. But this is a completely different feeling. The song features the Oakland Symphony Chamber Chorus and it's kind of..... The way the sound and their use is one of the oddest I've ever heard for a choir. It also makes me envoys because there is no way in hell I could have ever came up with anything like this. The only logical thing I can get from this is I read it was written when he saw snow in that place. And I think it's in California. So for it to snow in California would cause panic and confusion. That is this song.
  2. Warm Love: Some consider this to be a sequel to Crazy Love. This actually sounds like a sister song to that, but like a lesser version or re-write of it. There is more woodwind and I mean I dig some of the stuff, but I can't really say it's great. I think it works after the cool off from the epic that was prior to this,
  3. Hard Nose the Highway: This isn't that terrible of a song, it sort of reminds me of something that I could hear on a prior album. I can't really complain about this, I mean it isn't amazing, but it's about the same level of most of the songs by him I think are just okay. Like they aren't amazing, but they aren't terrible. They are fun to hear and pretty decent listens.
  4. Wild Children: This song is about post-war children growing up in other countries and getting their source of role models from American anti-heroes. The wikipedia page makes more sense for explaining it. I guess that makes sense, but I'm more interested in the music first, then the message. Ehhh, it's a chill song. I can't say I'm getting into it though. I mean it's not gorgeous, or mind blowing. There are bits and pieces I can say reminds me of this or reminds me of that. I don't know, just kind of chill. Nothing special in my opinion. Good playing though. Also, for whatever reason, I don't like his use of name drops.
  5. The Great Deception: This is a political song, and once I read what it was about it inspired me to out write it. Okay, yes the last song and this song are different, but they are similar in mood. They are both jazzy chill easy to listen to songs. This happens to be a bit more upbeat, but I mean it isn't anything mind blowing either. I mean I honestly like listening to this, but I'm not sure if I'll revisit it. I mean it's better than the last tune, maybe a 7, but yeah.
  6. Bein' Green: This is a cover of the Joe Raposo track that is from Sesame Street. I though this was an odd choice, but you know, I don't know. In the context of the record I guess this would be the one to do it on, and the style is very fitting. But is it necessary? Yes it's a nice touch, but is it necessary.
  7. Autumn Song: This is 9 minutes, and yeah it's nice. But I want something else. I want to be thrilled, I want to feel something rather than a stroll through the park smoking my cigarettes in New York. Give me something please, this isn't bad it's just so samey. About 4 minutes in and I've very bored. There really is no need for this to be 9 minutes long. At all, maybe 3 or 4 tops.
  8. Purple Heather: This cover of the traditional song of Scottish Origin. Other artists who have done versions are Thin Lizzy (as a part of Roisin Dubh), The Cheiftans (2001), Joan Baez (1965), The Bryds (1966), Mark Knopfler (2002), Judy Collins (1961),  Bob Dylan and last one I'll list is Marianne Faithful (1966). Now this might work as a finale to the record, it maybe have a sort of soft ending to what opened on such a high note, but this version of the song is just boring. I mean it isn't terrible, but it's just it's like the other tunes. Kinda pretty, not gorgeous, but just....................... SAME!
Overall I have to give this album a 6/10. It's funny, I can't say I love this guy, his vocals often get on my nerves. But when he has a solid track T.B. Sheets, Wild Night, Snow in San Alsemo, I've Been Working, The Way Young Lovers Do and so on there are a ton of other okay songs. This album is very consistent in it's underwhelming-ness. I mean I don't hate it, it just doesn't live up to that title track. I'd suggest Moondance as the album to check out.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Make It Big - Wham!

Since I am deciding if I need to review 4 or 5 ones this month, I'll do a quickie. This is the second studio album by the British duo that is Wham!. The reason I finally decided to review this was because I recently saw Deadpool and can't remember the last time I laughed so much at a movie. That is not even close to an exaggeration. So I figured I'd review this 80's big seller. I mean I can't say I'm a huge fan of the group, a few songs are okay, but why not do a review right. That's never stopped me before. Since I'm here I want to note I'll also be reviewing Heaven Adores You and untitled unmastered. this year too.
  1. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go: Opening the album is the number that is pretty hilarious. Maybe it's because it was a fun song back when it came out but what I've noticed us things that are more, state of the art or trends, sound dated as soon as someone figures something better sounding. But lke the second this song starts I hear that 50's nostalgia, and this song is so...... I don't think this is as good as the closer. Because at least that I can laugh, but also get pleasure by way of "this is actually good". This is more of a, this is so cheesy, but not in a good way. Also the last minute could have been cut, or it could have been condensed by a minute. It's really not necessary.
  2. Everything She Wants: This song, is, I actually don't care for it much. Like there isn't much of a WHAM! here. This isn't anything overtly big here either. I mean yes, slower parts are good, but this is like..... this is one of those terrible tunes that's in a night scene in Miami Vice. This isn't terrible, it's just. It reminds me a bit of a lesser Duran Duran tune too.
  3. Heartbeat: YEAH!!!!!! If done slightly differently, including the vocalist, this could be a Born in the U.S.A. era Bruce. I feel like this would be a little deeper and not just a straight froward love song, maybe not, but who knows. I can do the chorus with his voice in my head singing it. Hey maybe he'll cover it in his new 2010's acoustic/band tributes he's been doing live.
  4. Like A Baby: This song is so boring. Maybe back in the day it wasn't but this song is just so, like..... I can dig slow jams and ballads and Spanish sounding guitars. I really honestly can, but this is just so fucking smooth jazz lame 80's horse shit. Why couldn't he have went the direction of Sade on this tune. They make music like this, kinda, and it's good. It' isn't boring, it doesn't go in one ear out the other. Ya killin' me Georgie.
  5. Freedom: Later remade or sequel-ed, I'm not sure, on George Michael's 1990 solo record. I will say this, this is, so far, the best song on this thing. I mean I don't think it's amazing, but I do think it's a much better song than the others up to this point. I prefer parts of the 90 version, but I also like version of this one that aren't on the other.
  6. If You Were There: This is a cover of the 1973 Isley Brothers track off their 3+3 record. I heard the original before I listened to this version, and I original has a funky feeling to it. I mean it isn't my favorite song in the world, they have much better songs I think. This is a pretty faithful cover, with the then current instruments. Like there is a keyboard on this instead of a clavi. This is just a bit more 80's. But the major difference is the vocals. I mean I don't love this, thought I do kind of like this version more than the original. 
  7. Credit Card Baby: I'm going to guess they were fairly new, or gaining popularity at this point in time. Also I cringed the first time I heard this. Also seriously, cut this fucker. Sugar Pie Honey Bunch.
  8. Careless Whisper: This is the song that, even though I get a laugh from it, I also love it. I mean it's pretty hilarious and amazing at the same time. On the one side, it so screams 80's from the saxophones to the music video that reminds me a bit of Miami Vice,  to the synths, and the overall atmosphere. At the same time it's great, and is actually a well written song. Something I've learned is it takes a well written song to last the passage of time. My all time favorite part of this song is the bridge. I can't not sing along to that, and this is regardless of how off pitch I am. I need to be able to get it. It's so fucking good.
Overall I have to give this album a 4/10. While the band has some solid tunes, there are some more filler and lesser tunes. This could have been a solid 7 Ep of like 4 tracks maybe. But I'm not really feeling this outside of the bolded tracks.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

77 Rusty Trombones - Blowfly

You know, everyone has to go sometime, but it's odd. This year has been of to a crazy start. Lemmy died at the tail end of last year, my Grandfather New Years Eve, Bowie the 10th, Glen Frey the 18th and I can't believe that Clarence is gone too (17th). It's kind of funny, I kind of wanted to write a song for him on one of his newer records. I mean, I doubt it'd be as filthy as him, but still. There has not been a year, to my memory (like as in what I remember, not what I can recall as fact) where so many people have died in such a short time. When I looked it up, I was like wow Otis Clay is gone too (8th). So it's getting to a point where I'm waiting to hear Macca, Prince, Dylan, Hancock, Zorn, Patton and so on have passed too. I mean it's just odd, I'm the one who has uploaded most of the Blowfly whosampled information to the site. Really, I took the time because I felt people should know and see and hear great tunes, and parodies. Now he's gone. In the time of me reviewing this Vanity passed and so did Signe Toly Anderson (Jefferson Airplane singer) and Paul included. So hopefully this review will hold over till Reid month.
  1. If You Don't Blow Me By Now: This, a parody of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes 1972 If You Don't Know Me By Now, opens the album. It has a sort of mournful feeling, and is kind of perfect to close the record if I'm being honest. I think that this is pretty great and I can't ask for much better at this point in his career. 
  2. The Big Gay Crack: This is hilarious, a parody of The Payback by James Brown. This song is so fucking hilarious. I really can't even, it show he still can sort of leave you speachless. Other than Big Gay reminds me of Big Gay Al.
  3. Masturbate: I don't know for sure if this is a parody off the bat. It does remind me a bit of something off the 70's albums though. This sort of reminds me of the themes, like the in-between song themes, or vamps rather, he'd play on albums like Weird World of Blowfly, or Zodiac or On Tour.  Also there is some nice guitar on this track, I wish there was more of a solo, but it's still tasty. Actually it most reminds me of The First Black Presidents' backing track.
  4. I Still Believe My Dick Can Fly: This is a reworking of the parody that found it's way on 2005's I Believe My Dick Can Fly. It's actually pretty great to be honest, I mean I'm not laughing.... but the music kind of makes me want to cry a bit. Also that break in the song makes me smile. :)
  5. Blowfly Jeopardy: This is a silly little skit that sort of reminds me of the skit tracks on album from the 80's like Black President and other skits, especially on his latest album (Black In The Sack). They played the theme over Tom asking questions to Fly and a band member, I presume.
  6. Mountain Jew: This song is hilarious, it's so upbeat. It's so happy, I really want to find out what it's supposed to be spoofing. I love the tone on this, there is a country feeling to it. It's too good to be honest. If I had to guess I'd say it's a parody of a Creedence Clearwater Revival tune, but again I'm not sure. I guess this is a spoof of the really old song, from the 20's, Good Old Mountain Dew. That song is about Moonshine.
  7. American Ho Woman: This is a parody of American Woman by The Guess Who. I mean it's okay, but I don't really think the players are as good on here as they were on the prior tracks. I mean it sort of sounds off and doesn't really work well in my opinion. Nice solo though.
  8. She's Got A Weiner: This is another ballad, but....... I don't really know what to make of it first time though. I mean, this isn't the first time  he's had a song where a woman turned out to be a man. I can name at least a handful, all the versions of Rap Dirty included. I mean it's as frequent as Van Morrison and the word Caledonia. Also I'm positive this is wrong, but is this a spoof of She's A Lady? This is a soul song, so I'm not sure exactly what it's supposed to be
  9. I Fuck Everything: I smirked a bit when I saw that title, there exists a Bowie tune I Dig Everything from 1966. Imagine that song being Fly'd. Hilarious, I mean I doubt it would be, but just kinda funny. Instead it's a Stylistics parody of You Are My Everything.  I doubt he'd have done the Bowie tune, but the upbeat happy vibe of that would be amazing if they were fuck instead of dig. 
  10. He Will Fuck You: Ah, another We Will Rock You parody. There isn't anything really to say other than this is probably the closest to the original I can recall. This is the third time he's done it, second as a full track. 
  11. Celebrity ABC's: This is basically a rerecording of Sesame Street which he's done under a few different names over the years. This is the last, and is kind of fitting that its on the last. I mean that isn't much to comment on really.
  12. Fakin' the Bi: This is a punk song, but I couldn't quite pin down which one exactly. I had to wait and I still couldn't figure it out. I like it though, so if you know let me know. This is kind of funny, who doesn't hate a woman who fakes being bi (I think that is what this is about, I can't really understand). I still think it's a nice addition to the album.
  13. Hell's Hoe Dolly: I really loved this, it's similar to Mountain Jew. I can kind of assume it's a cover of Hello Dolly, but you can't be sure. PS I can only assume after listening. This is just such a fun song, I feel like it is the only way, besides the bitter sweet ending with If You Don't Blow Me By Now, to end the album and his career. I mean his best albums are party records, they are just fun to listen to and not take seriously and this capture's that.
Overall I have to give this last album a 7/10. There is a bit of a closure to this album. There is a fun element to this that reminds me of Weird World. I wonder if he knew he was sick. There is sort of a goodbye feeling to this, it's not as deep as Blackstar but it's rather accepting. There is something bittersweet about this (but in a different way than the other mentioned album). I don't know. Maybe it's that I know it's the last record we'll ever get (not like how the aforementioned Hero planned outtake albums and what not to come out). Maybe it's that this is fun to listen to and not just an old man who won't grow up. I don't know but I think it's nice. I want to also note, if you happen to know what the songs are spoofing and I don't have it down, let me know in the comments I'd love to know.

The only thing I think that could make this feel like more of a closing is if he play the Weird World theme. But all things aside, when Clarence passed we lost of of the best soul writers to have ever been born.