First things first…Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who happens to stumble across this blog today. As I sit here at almost 700am, my wife preparing the Thanksgiving meal (I’ll be helping her later), I have so very much to be thankful for. We are so very blessed in more ways than I could count in this space. For now, I am going to say that I’m thankful for the basics of life with which God has provided us. We have food, clothing, and shelter. We have jobs. We have a family (two wonderful daughters and a son-in-law (no grandchildren yet…none on the horizon…and NO pressure whatsoever!). God is good. We have an AWESOME church that we are now members of. AND we have a four day weekend! Huzzah!
If you’ve read my last entry, you know that I started working my way through this book called 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, by Tom Moon. Since then, I have listened to several more of them. Right now, I am taking advantage of the extensive catalog offered by Rhapsody, a music service to which I subscribe. They have an app for the iPhone, so I can listen at work. Anyway…Last Friday, I listened to and album by Ryan Adams, called “Heartbreaker.”
Now, remember…I’m an old guy. So I’m part of a generation that remembers Bryan Adams. So when I started hearing about this Ryan Adams, I was a little confused. Well, this guy seems to be, well, the book describes him as Rock, but Rhapsody classifies him as “Alt-Country.” After listening to this recording, I would have to agree more with Rhapsody. The caption over the article in the book says “Young, Sad, High = Songwriting Genius.” I’m not sure about the “genius” part. There were a few songs that I liked on this 2000 release. The authors favorite tracks were “My Winding Wheel,” “Oh My Sweet Carolina,” and “To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High).” I, on the other hand, really liked “Call Me On Your Way Back Home,” as well as “Shakedown on 9th Street.” Here’s a Youtube of “Shakedown.”
Next up was The Cannonball Adderly Quintent “At the Lighthouse.” (This was last Monday.)
I’ve heard of Cannonball, but never really listened to any of his music. Categorized as Jazz, this 1960 recording is a live recording at The Lighthouse.” If you were to sub-categorize this genre, I suppose it would be classified as “Be-Bop.” The author’s favorite tracks were “Sack o’ Woe,” “Azule Serape,” “Our Delight,” “What Is This Thing Called Love,” and “Big P.” There are only seven tracks on the album. While it is a very listenable album, I realized that I’m not a big fan of Be-Bop. His band is tight, and they played very well together. The caption for the article says “An Overdose of Smiling Riffs.” And I must confess…it is very happy music.
On Monday, I also listened to an album called “The Best of the Classic Years,” by King Sunny Ade. I’m definitely getting some variety by working through this book, and hearing some things that I never would have heard, otherwise. It’s good for me, I think. The caption over this article says “Juju Mojo, at Full Strength.” I have never heard of “Juju.” The genre classification is “World/Nigeria.”
The author’s favorite tracks were “Synchro System,” “Ibanuje mon iwon,” and “Sunny ti de.” Yeah. Well, surprise of all surprise! I loved this recording! I liked all the tracks! The first few tracks just segue one into another, almost seamlessly. The do sound a lot alike, but I didn’t mind. It’s rather minimal in its makeup, with pitched “talking” drums, electric guitar, and vocals. The author calls it “conversations between guitars and drums.” I found it to be quite delightful. All of roughly an hour and ten minutes, or so. Here’s a youtube of “Synchro System,” although the version on the recording I listened to was almost three times as long as this one.
The last album I listened to on Monday was this one:
That’s right! Aerosmith! The “Bad Boys from Boston.” Toys in the Attic. After all these years, I must say that Aerosmith is one of my “guilty pleasures.” I really like this band. This is the album that pretty much launched them into fame. The caption over the article says “Teenage Boy Bliss.” The author’s favorite tracks are “Walk This Way,” and “Uncle Salty.” This 1975 release (I was a junior in high school…) also included their hit single, “Sweet Emotion.” My favorite tracks, though, as I listened to it, are “No More No More,” and “Round and Round.” (Not the same song as Ratt’s “Round and Round.”) Here’s a youtube of “No More No More.”
Tuesday, I listened to another African recording. From Ethiopia, “Ethiopiques, Vol. 7: Ere Mela Mela,” by Mahmoud Ahmed. This recording was released in 2002.
It is categorized as “World/Ethiopia” by the author. The caption for the article is “Girl Trouble, on a Lofty Plane.” I guess so…this one I didn’t get. The music behind the vocals was okay. But almost every song sounded exactly the same…there didn’t seem to be any difference melodically between one song and another. There also wasn’t enough melodic difference within the song. I’ve heard American music that is the same way. I just don’t find it interesting when every phrase of the song sounds exactly the same. However, I’ll say again, the band behind the vocals was not bad. Here’s a youtube of “Ere Mela Mela,” from a different recording.
The other album I listened to on Tuesday was “Dirt,” by Alice in Chains.
(That does appear to be a naked woman lying in the dirt, doesn’t it?) Okay, look. I’m committed to trying to listen to every recording in this book. I’m not a big Alice in Chains fan…not really a fan at all. This album was released in 1992, and is categorized by the author as, simply, Rock. Rhapsody, however, calls them “Grunge.” That’s more accurate. “Grunge,” is still “Rock,” of course, but more specific. The author’s “key tracks” are “Angry Chair,” “Down in a Hole,” “Would?,” and “Rooster.” “Rooster” is pretty much the only Alice in Chains song that I know. Why don’t I like Alice in Chains? It’s not the music. For grunge rock, they aren’t bad. I find the lead singer’s whiny, nasally, vocals to be extremely annoying. Plus there’s the parallel fourth or fifth harmonies that saturate EVERY. SONG. THEY. DO. It’s very unimaginative. Here’s a youtube of “Rooster.” Warning…it’s a bit gory, as the subject matter seems to be the Vietnam conflict.
Oh…I almost forgot the caption over the article…”Pure Junkie Menace.”
Tuesday’s listening began with the first of the 1000 recordings that I actually own! I still listened to the Rhapsody version, but I actually own a vinyl copy of this recording.
Captioned “An Essential Live Rock Document,” “The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East,” is considered to be one of the most important live rock recordings in history. Released in 1971, the original recording includes “Statesboro Blues,” “Done Somebody Wrong,” “Stormy Monday,” “You Don’t Love Me,” “Hot ‘Lanta,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” and “Whipping Post.” Digital editions have been expanded to include “Trouble No More,” “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’,” “One Way Out,” “Midnight Rider,” “Mountain Jam,” and “Drunken Hearted Boy.” It’s interesting that the author’s key tracks include “Midnight Rider,” as it was not on the original release. “One Way Out,” was originally released on the “Eat A Peach” album, so named because it was a peach truck that killed Duane Allman on his motorcycle fourteen days after “At Fillmore East” went gold. Also of interest is that, to my knowledge, there is NO studio recording of “One Way Out.” “Mountain Jam” and “Trouble No More” are also on this recording.
The Allman Brothers Band are recognized as pretty much inventing the whole “Southern Rock” genre. I have loved them for years…decades. My favorite tracks on this recording are…all of them? Okay…I’ll narrow it down to a couple. “Stormy Monday” and “Whipping Post.” And “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” And…SEE? I can’t do it! Whoa! I just learned that this concert occurred on Friday and Saturday, March 12 and 13, 1971. (To clarify…I was born in 1958, so this was just my birthday in 1971.) One of the greatest rock concerts in history happened on my birthday!! Booyah! Yeah. I just said “Booyah!” Anyway…if you have time to listen to it, here is a youtube of 23 minutes and 14 seconds of “Whipping Post” from that concert.
The final line in the article on this recording calls it “perfect driving music for the road that goes on forever.” Yeah.
The last recording I listened to yesterday, and where my current progress ends (certainly a step down from the previous recording, but then everything would be) was “Whipped Cream and Other Delights,” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.
As you can see, Alice in Chains aren’t the only people to use naked women on their album covers. This was pretty scandalous in 1965, I think. Haha. I remember listening to this album as I was growing up. Pretty sure that my father has a copy of it. This instrumental pop recording took the airwaves by storm. It stayed in the Billboard Top 10 for 61 weeks, eight of them at number one! “A Taste of Honey” was probably the biggest hit from the album. The author’s other key tracks are “Tangerine,” and “Whipped Cream.” And yes, almost all of the titles feature food. There are a few exceptions, such as “Love Potion #9.” I don’t care what you say…”potion” is not “food.” This recording was fun to listen to, and brought back some happy memories for me. For a special treat, here is a youtube (actual video in this one!) of “A Taste of Honey.”
So there you have it. There are quite a few entries in this book that are not included in Rhapsody’s catalog, so it will be a challenge to listen to some of them. I’ll figure it out, though. On the near horizon is “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals (in this case, he highlights only one track instead of the album), and “When the Pawn…” by Fiona Apple.