Dolly Parton – Rockstar – Dolly got inducted last year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I can’t understand why. Her non-country hits were largely pop-oriented, and songs like “9 to 5” have crossed over into the pop charts, but it’s not rock. Now at age 77, she has produced this new album called Rockstar, consisting mostly of her singing covers often with the musician that composed and wrote the song. She teams up with lead singers from The Beatles (surviving members Starr and McCartney both show up), as well as the lead musicians from CCR, Heart, Aerosmith, Blondie, and solo artists like Joan Jett, Peter Frampton, Miley Cyrus, Elton John, and, well, generally a star-studded cast of musicians. I think it will sell multi-platinum because of the big-budget appearances of nearly every surviving rock musician that is about her age, showing up and performing with her. Just in time for Christmas shopping. At 2 hours and 21 minutes, its 31 tracks are a bit of a slog, and the equivalent of a triple LP if it comes out in that format. Not my cup of tea, though.
Anything recent by Taylor Swift — On iTunes “Top Pop Albums” collection, there are five albums by music billionaire Taylor Swift, and at least two of them have more than one version: Lover, 1989, Midnights, Red, reputation. Taylor Swift occupies 10 positions on the top 200 album list this week. This has been more or less verified on Billboard’s Hot 200 Albums. Apart from titles already mentioned is her 2020 album Folklore at #16; Evermore, another album from 2020 at #38; Speak Now, a revised version of a 2010 album at #41; and Fearless, an album from 2008 at #96. In case you are awake, and counted only 9 albums, 1989 appears twice: Once at #1 and once at #48. The version at the #1 position is a recent revised version. While much of these have gone multi-platinum, still not my cup of tea. She occupies about 16 positions on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles.
I also noticed this by other artists: Drake has 8 albums on the top 200; Morgan Wallen has three; Billie Eilish and Rihanna have two each. 25 albums on Billboard this week are held by 5 artists. Dolly Parton has not charted yet with Rockstar, which was released only yesterday.
On Billboard, I noticed Fleetwood Mac’s 1976 album Rumors is at #40 on the top 200 albums this week. #1, the greatest hits comp by The Beatles released in 2000, now over 2 decades old, has just re-entered at #149. AC-DC’s Back in Black, an album that will soon be 44 years old, also re-entered at #160; Eagles’ Greatest Hits 1971-1975, an album our family had on 8-track, is now at #176; Abba’s 1992 Abba Gold Greatest Hits, is one below the Eagles at #177; Fleetwood Mac’s 1988 Greatest Hits is at #197; Bob Seger’s 1994 Greatest Hits is at #163. Oh, and I have to mention: at #195, Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits, a 2002 album of 60 and 70 year-old hits which peaked at #1.
Our musical favourites as a culture has become a rehash of old music that is older than most of the consumers buying the music. By sharp contrast, one of the craziest things I have noticed about all this new music record companies are putting out: it’s shit. People just want to buy the old stuff. Today’s music is so bad in fact, that when a half-decent performer like Taylor Swift comes out, she dominates the charts more than The Beatles ever did in their prime. It is not because of any merit of Taylor Swift (I say, at the risk of offending Taylor Swift fans); it is more because of the utter lack of competition from other capable artists. I don’t feel that today’s artists are less talented than they were during the 70s; it is just that companies are not investing in their talent like they used to. Recording companies will invest in the odd musician and invest in them more if they will toe the corporate line. Talent is not as much of a driving factor as it used to be.
In my series on Crappy Album Covers, Bob Dylan has appeared at least twice. I had also written about his singing skills or lack thereof at least once before. Needless to say, I have established my not-very-high opinion of Dylan’s singing and album covers on this blog.
However, I had always complimented him on his songwriting and poetry skill. His skill was good enough to win him the Nobel Prize for literature in 2017. However, the songs Dylan wrote were always best sung by other people.
Among the most frequent cover artists were Joan Baez; Judy Collins; The Band; The Byrds; Glen Campbell; Johnny Cash; Cher; Eric Clapton; Joe Cocker; Fairport Convention; Bryan Ferry; Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs; The Grateful Dead; George Harrisson; Jimi Hendrix; The Hollies; Peter, Paul and Mary; Tom Petty (with and without The Heartbreakers); Elvis Presley; Pete Seeger; Yes; Steve Howe; and Neil Young.
More modern artists cover him less frequently. They include: XTC; The White Stripes; The Red Hot Chili Peppers; Sinead O’Connor; My Morning Jacket; Jason Mraz; Ministry; Maroon 5; Dave Matthews Band; Diana Krall; Alicia Keys; Kesha; Norah Jones; Indigo Girls; Robyn Hitchcock (with and without The Egyptians); Green Day; Dream Syndicate; Miley Cyrus; Nick Cave and The Badseeds; and The Black Crowes.
And what I didn’t know until earlier today, is that at age 79, Dylan’s hit song, “Murder Most Foul”, has reached #1 on the Billboard chart for “US Digital Song Sales”, which is the first time he had a #1 hit singing in his own voice on any of the Billboard charts. This song will be part of his up-coming album “Rough and Rowdy Ways”, to be released at the end of next week.
The 17-minute hit beats Don Maclean’s “American Pie” by 7 minutes, and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” by 10 minutes.
“Murder Most Foul” is a montage of artist titles, singer names, and cultural references that keep going back to the Kennedy assassination. At first listen, it is difficult to understand why all of the name-dropping and song title mentions are there. It feels kind of chaotic, and you feel like there is no structure. It requires another listen. And when you listen again, try not to make sense of anything. Then the song works perfectly, in that it begins to make its own sense. It objectively refers to Kennedy, and a multitude of artists and songs contemporary to the early sixties, with the odd mention of artists from later and earlier decades. Like a painting, you can’t examine the painting by examining each brushstroke. You need to listen to this song by allowing your mind to “step back” so to speak, and admire the song as a whole piece as you would a painting.
To say it is a sad song is an understatement. It seems more like a funeral march. It is a eulogy to a dying culture, and the end of an era. It reveals to us all what we already know: it’s not the sixties anymore. American culture is wounded, and the prospects appear grim.
What a year. A lot of really well-liked musicians and entertainers have shuffled off this mortal coil. Indeed, it was a depressing year for celebrity deaths, and increased global warming and Trump winning the election didn’t help things. We witness the cosmically interconnected deaths of multiple people within the same sitcom; both Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia in Star Wars) and mother Debbie Reynolds (Co-starred with Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain) die within a day of each other. And the actor behind R2-D2 in the same year. This is to say nothing about ’70s and ’80s music icons. This list of more than 45 people who died this year are just the ones that most easily come to mind. It still seems like a long list. Of course, if you are an “in memoriam” junkie, there is always the much, much longer list at http://www.nndb.com
Abe Vigoda – One of two former members who passed away this year, from the now-syndicated TV comedy series Barney Miller. Abe played detective “Fish”.
Alan Thicke – Sitcom actor mostly known for his role as a father in Growing Pains. He was also host of the talk show The Alan Thicke Show
Alvin Toffler – Author of the much read and much studied ’70s social commentary “Future Shock“
Arnold Palmer – Recognized as one of the greatest golfers in sports history.
Billy Paul – Writer and singer of the soul hit Me and Mrs. Jones, and possibly the originator of the word “jonesin'” whenever someone has a romantic obsession with someone else, or with an idea.
Bob Elliott – one half of the duo “Bob and Ray“. Bob and Ray was a radio comedy program which was popular during the 1940s and 1950s. And many of their skits have stood the test of time. Ray Goulding died in 1990.
Bobby Vee – Early 1960s pop singer, with over 10 hits in reaching the top 20.
Brock Yates – Contributor to Car and Driver magazine, and invented the concept of the Cannonball Run, which inspired many 70s car-oriented movies such as Smoky and the Bandit, and the actual movie named Cannonball Run.
Charmaine Carr – Played the eldest von Trapp sister Liesel in the movie The Sound of Music.
David Bowie – Singer/songwriter/gender bender/fashion plate. More here and here.
Edgar Mitchell – the 6th man to walk on the moon during Apollo 14.
Fidel Castro – President of Cuba for around 55 years. He turned American holdings into public holdings while thumbing his nose at the American government. Along the way, he killed off a lot of his opponents, restricted free speech, but also had free education, and free healthcare, which was the envy of Central America, causing average life expectancy to extend beyond those of Americans. So, while reviews are mixed, he is, on balance, revered as one the great leaders of the 20th century.
Florence Henderson – Played mother Carol in The Brady Bunch.
Frank Sinatra, Jr. – Son of Frank Sinatra.
Garry Shandling – Played host on the quasi-reality-sitcom The Gary Shandling Show.
Gene Wilder – I prefer to remember him for his roles in the Mel Brooks movies Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. More here.
George Kennedy – Most famous for his starring roles in Naked Gun, and all four sequels of the Airport films, based on an Arthur Haley novel.
George Michael – Lead singer of Wham! and later soloist. Died of heart failure.
Sir George Martin – Producer for The Beatles.
Glenn Frey – Solo musician, and former lead singer of The Eagles.
Greg Lake – The “L” in ELP (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer). Before that, he was the drummer for King Crimson. Died on 7 December.
Gordie Howe, OC — Played in the NHL for just over a quarter century, and another six years in the WHA. Known as “Mr. Hockey”.
Harper Lee – Author of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Henry Heimlich – American physician and inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver.
Henry McCullough – Played lead guitar for Joe Cocker and for Wings. He was also a solo performer at the original Woodstock festival in 1969.
Jack Riley – Played the neurotic patient Elliott Carlin in The Bob Newhart Show. He also has a movie career that dates back to playing a doctor in the original version of the movie Catch-22.
Joe Santos – Played Lt. Becker on The Rockford Files; also played in Magnum P. I., and The Sopranos.
John Glenn – First man to circle the globe in a space capsule, aviator, astronaut, and Ohio state senator.
Kenny Baker – The man inside R2-D2.
Leon Russell (Claude Russell Bridges) – Soloist and session musician to some of the best names in ’60s and ’70s music: The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Carpenters, Jan and Dean, Dave Mason, B. B. King, and Rita Coolidge, to begin to scratch the surface.
Leonard Cohen – Folk/Pop singer, poet, painter.
Marvin Minsky – Father of artificial intelligence.
Maurice White – Founding member of the 70s dance band Earth, Wind and Fire.
Merle Haggard – Country and Western singer.
Morley Safer – News anchor for CBS’s 60 Minutes. He was in television journalism for 61 years.
Muhammad Ali – Three-time world heavyweight champion in boxing. More here.
Pat Harrington – Played Duane Schneider on the sitcom One Day at a Time.
Patty Duke – Played both Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan in both best-known film adaptations of the movie The Miracle Worker. She won an Oscar for the first one in 1963. She has been either on film or TV fairly steadily between 1958 and 2012.
Paul Kantner – One of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane.
Peter Shaffer – British Playwright best known for Amadeus and Equus.
Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson) – Prolific pop musician, talent scout, and record producer. More here.
Richard Adams — Author of the children’s novel Watership Down.
Robert Vaughn – Starred in Man from U. N. C. L. E. He also had a number of movie roles throughout the 1970s.
Ron Glass – Played Detective Harris on the sitcom Barney Miller.
Scotty Moore – Elvis Presley’s first guitarist.
Steve Young – Wrote Seven Bridges Road, which became a hit for The Eagles.
Susannah Mushatt Jones – World’s oldest living person at time of death, born in Alabama in 1899 to sharecroppers, and was the granddaughter of slaves. Since high school, she spent most of her life in Brooklyn, New York City, and had retired since 1965. She attributes her longevity to never having smoked or consumed alcohol.
Umberto Eco – Professor of semiotics, University of Boston
Vanity (Denise Katrina Matthews) – Singer, Songwriter. Boy-pal Prince was about to introduce her and her lingerie-clad all-girl band to the world as “Vaginia and the Hookers”. Late into the night, she persuaded Prince that her stage name was to be called “Vanity”, and her lingerie-clad all-girl band was to be called “Vanity 6”. Prince said: “Wha’? Why ‘6’? There’s only three of you”. The group lasted for one album and one tour. Two years later, she would land several movie and TV roles. Among her other boyfriends during her life of glamour were Adam Ant and Nikki Sixx. By 1996 she had renounced her drug use (oh yeah, she was also battling drug addiction) and all ties to the entertainment industry by finding God and creating her own ministry.
William Christopher — Played Father Mulcahy in the hit TV series M*A*S*H.
William Patrick (W. P.) Kinsella — Canadian novelist known for Shoeless Joe, which was adapted to film.
Zsa Zsa Gabor — Hungarian-American Beauty queen, socialite and actress.
The 1980s also had some great music, but I admit what I liked mostly was the obscure college radio stuff. Having been a former college radio DJ, I had the chance to sample through literally hundreds of songs in search for that “diamond in the rough”. In its day, finding The Jesus and Mary Chain’s 1985 LP Psychocandy didn’t take much digging. Nobody knew what to call it, but it recently got tagged as “Noise pop” by some guy writing for Wikipedia. I really have no idea what to call it to this day, although I admit, some of their tunes bordered on noise, due to their insistence on screeching guitar feedback, especially in their earlier work.
Here is “Just Like Honey”, which appeared on several commercials, including a recent car commercial:
You Should Be Dancing was the first serious disco hit for the Bee Gees in 1976, a year before Saturday Night Fever. The song later made it on the soundtrack as well, although it was not played on the film. Neither was Jive Talking. It used the signature falsetto that was found in many of their subsequent hits throughout the 70s and 80s.
I like the rock drums and guitar on this tune, since it makes it rise above the plasticity and superficiality of all disco that came later (by nearly everyone including the Bee Gees). This song was culled from their mid-seventies comeback period, where many of my favourite Bee Gees tunes reside. I am not all that fond of their music before or after, but Jive Talkin’, Nights on Broadway, Fanny, and You Should be Dancing are my all-time Bee Gees favourites. All of these hits occured in a short period between 1975 and 1976.
The blog that has inspired this series of Music from the Seventies said that the late Minnie Riperton (1947-1979) screamed the lyrics to “Loving You”. We need to distinguish between screaming (something the lead singer of a group like Journey would do), and seriously hitting the high notes. God blessed Riperton with divine vocal cords, with a range of five and a half octaves, rare in most humans. Her natural voice could range above a falsetto into what is called the “whistle register”. Yes, she could sing higher than the Bee Gees or Frankie Valli. Higher than John Denver’s yodeling on the song Calypso, in fact. Unlike the Bee Gees and Denver, Minnie Riperton used full voice in hitting those notes, which is why feats like these are so rare.
They may have needed guards at Riperton’s concerts to make sure no-one brought their dog.
“Loving You” topped the charts in the United States and 24 other countries.
Mariah Carey has been compared with her, and she would appear to be slightly less melodic (still pretty good though).
Before you click on the recording below, you might want to send your dog outside if you have one.
It was 1972, and while commercialism of the music industry was on the rise, there was still enough genuine and original songs to call 1972 a high water mark in popular music. Things got even better in ’73, but then a long, slow decline happened that persists to this day. In my opinion, 1972 was also the high water mark of Kenny Loggins’ music. After this, he started over-commercialising himself, especially with the soundtracks: Danger Zone (Top Gun), Footloose (Footloose), and I’m Alright (Caddyshack) are three over-played songs on radio that immediately come to mind.
“Danny’s Song” is a tune penned by Kenny Loggins during his time with Loggins and Messina that fits in with a number of songs of that period that you can imagine a kindergarten or grade 2 teacher teaching their kids to sing. It is wholesome, with just the right amount of sentimentality that, I think, hits everyone at a basic level. Kind of like “Yellow Submarine”, or “This Land is Your Land”. When Anne Murray sung this tune a year later, she was nominated at the 1974 Grammies for best female vocalist. She was up against Roberta Flack (“Killing Me Softly”), and won the Grammy in 1974. It is one case where, while the cover was a bigger hit than the original, the original still stands on its own.
The period had a raft of similar tunes, but some of them were trying to hit you over the head with this Kindergarten teacher idea to such an extreme so as to bring actual children in as backup singers. Two over-the-top examples that immediately come to mind are: “Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr., or “Sing” by the Carpenters.
“I stood at Calvary in a business suit, but no one told me that they were gonna have a toga party” is how I paraphrase one MSN blogger who discussed this album. But this could also be one of the earliest depictions of Supply-Side Jesus in a business suit.
No one would crucify Supply-side Jesus, according to his biographer and publicist, Al Franken, as when the choice was given to the multitudes as to whether to release Supply-side Jesus or Jesus of Nazareth from the sentence of death by crucifixion, the people chose Supply-side Jesus, since he offered the public 20 sheckels to anyone who voted for him. This historic act is depicted here for all to see.
I don’t care if it rains or freezes, s’long as I have my 8-bit Jesus playing on my iPod in my car. Our Lord and Saviour meets Mario Brothers.
These ditties by Doctor Octoroc may be downloaded again from a web page that touts it as the “second coming of 8-bit Jesus”.
This is an awfully dry album cover for the former members of The New Pornographers and Wolf Parade. I mean, a courtroom? In their 2009 album “Enemy Mine”, it is not clear if there is any connection at all between this cover and the album’s contents.
Apart from that, this kind of art might be OK for a newspaper courtroom artist who wants to capture the likenesses of large numbers of people. Unless your album is about famous or notable court cases, courtroom art is a bad idea.
This album is an improvement over Swan Lake due to the lack of a courtroom image.
Al Jolson was known for his imitating a black singer by covering his face in black makeup, but it appears as though this black guy covered his face in even blacker makeup. But alas, it looks like a wax carving.
Some amusing tidbits: I found a larger image than this in a place called the “Uncyclomedia Commons“. The web page containing the image declares that “This image or article is a copyright violation”. Then in small print, it continues: “Luckily, nobody cares.” The link on “nobody cares” points to an aticle in the “uncyclopedia” called “nobody cares“. The Uncyclopedia is touted as a “content-free” encyclopedia, but it appears to be satire.
Cuban born Perez Prado (1916-1989) showed himself as the Head Honcho of Mambo University. I guess it was the Latin kind, not the horizontal kind. During his tenure, Prado was known as the King of Mambo.
Living for most of his life in Mexico, he had a long recording and performing career which extended from the 1940s to the 1970s.
One of his most famous recordings has the unfortunate name of “Mambo #5.” While it’s not on this record, I thought that I would include a video of the original 1950 tune, followed by a cover version of the song (below) done by the Horizontal Mambo Man Lou Bega, performed 50 years later, around 2000. You are guaranteed not to be able to get the Bega version out of your head.
Many of us recognise the name Arthur Murray as being the name behind the international dance lessons franchise. Now, how do you “learn” to dance to Rock and Roll and “do your own thing”?
Big Dave and his Orchestra could be accused of cashing in somehow with some kind of bandwagon, but in fact, Murray picked out the tracks himself, and there was a serious intent to “teach” rock and roll dance to customers.
Speaking for myself, I dance like a 3-legged cow, but if I wanted to pay for dance lessons, I don’t think I would go for something free-form like Rock, but with something more structured that takes somewhat more effort, like tango, foxtrot, or that kind of stuff.
Marty Gold and His Orchestra, with an album that more than likely hails from around the mid to late 1950s, called “Hi Fi Fo Fum”. Not sure if that is supposed to be Gold dressed as The Green Giant on the cover. This site reports that this album hails from a period when Gold’s work was the most interesting.
In April of 1972, blues artist Bill Maloney and (possibly) a few other musicians put out this album “Pleasure Pudding” under the name Sweet Pie. Recorded mostly live in Wilmington, Vermont. In view of this, the second track has the title “Vermont: A Lazy Man’s Colorado.” This would seem to work best place to buy generic viagra only if you live in the New England area. Otherwise, Colorado can be a lazy man’s Vermont.
One of the tracks is called “Too Drunk to Ball”, a song which predates the Dead Kennedy’s top 40 hit (at least in England) called “Too Drunk to F**k”. As Stewart Mason points out: “[Sweet Pie is] an appealingly freaky mixture of spoken word rambles just this side of stoned babbling and spacy piano blues that sound like what would have happened if Sun Ra had taken his outer-space parade into the honky tonks”. If you are indeed curious, you can buy and download thier music at ESP-Disk.
The Incans were ahead of their time. Their legends may have given us the first samples of pornography. Voice of the Xtabay is a legend about a woman who has sex with countless men, then died with Xtabentum (fragrant flowers) growing on her grave. It has all the elements of a plotless porn film. All it needs now is bad acting in between the sex scenes.
Depicted is a very young Yma Sumac (1922-2008), a Peruvian soprano known for her 5-octave vocal range. For the Exotica genre that was popular in the late ’40s and throughout the 1950s, they don’t get more famous than her.
This 1950 studio album, and Sumac’s first, was produced by no less than Les Baxter, who also helped write two of the tracks. It features Peruvian rhythms, and of course, Sumac’s vocal range. The recording can be purchased in CD form through any number of online vendors.
Two Polynesian dudes are busy singing along, when all of a sudden both say: “Hey, who brought in the white chick?” This is yet another CAC from that veritable CAC factory, TOPS.
The composer was Robert Drasnin (1927-2015), at the time, a recent UCLA graduate with a Master’s in Music. In 1959, he was approached by the upper management at TOPS to produce an exotica record. On that record you will likely hear the piano of John Williams, who would later go on to write the musical scores of Star Wars and Jaws. Drasnin himself would later produce music for the small screen, most notably The Twilight Zone, and Gunsmoke. By 1977 he became the director of music for the CBS television network.
To date there has been at least two reissues of Voodoo on compact disc. To show that Exotica has not yet died, Drasnin recorded Voodoo II on CD in 2007 when he was 80.
I once was listening to my favourite Jazz station in the Toronto area when I heard the announcer say something about The Great American Songbook (GAS). It was one of those phrases which kind of rolls off the tongue and seems to have no real meaning, but is a phrase often used by announcers at the station in describing the song choices or past hits of the many artists they play.
I got curious and looked into it, and found that the GAS is actually a more technical term, referring to some period in American history between 1920 and 1960 or so, which includes many of the so-called Jazz “standards”, as well as sing-along stuff that we all take for granted. Songs like “Blue Skies”, “Puttin’ On The Ritz” (both by Irving Berlin); “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” (George and Ira Gershwin); “Ol’ Man River” (Jerome Kern) have all been used in ads, been made into top-40 hits in the past 20 years, been sung by jazz musicians, big band ensembles, and rock and country groups alike. In all, the GAS can be said to represent the American songwriting canon. They are a collection of songs that have had a big effect on American culture, thought, and style. When you filter out all of the lowbrow music, movies and videos that come from the States, the GAS is what is left. It is difficult to sit through an hour or two of all jazz or easy listening without hearing someone covering a tune from the GAS. They have been covered by everyone from Joni Mitchell to Queen Latifah.
It had been agreed by whoever it was to end the time line for the GAS at around 1960, the ascendancy of the Rock era. But I think that is very limiting. It shuts out folks like the songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David; and the exclusion of rock leaves out Bob Dylan (can anyone say he didn’t contribute to American culture?), and Bruce Springsteen, whose ballads mark points in American history much like the poetry of William Wordsworth or the songs of Pete Seeger. And come to think of it, why was Pete Seeger not included? Seeger would have been alive during the Tin Pan Alley era of American songwriting (in the middle of the GAS period), and the rest of the pre-rock era of American music at the time. It is difficult to believe that Pete Seeger songs like “This Land Is Your Land”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” would not be considered part of the American canon.
Not really having heard the original Dire Straits version of “Brothers in Arms” when it came out (it was one of these things I was planning on “getting around to”), my first experience with the song was through protest singer Joan Baez in 1988, with a radio-only compilation back when I was a university DJ. I feel that it was at least her best since “Love Song To a Stranger”, another song that grabs my emotions in a similar way.
Brothers in Arms is about a quintessential Baez theme: anti-war. It is hard to listen to lyrics like “There’s a million different worlds/and a million different suns/we have just one world/and live in different ones” and not get choked up.
I have heard some remarks in recent blogs regarding the appropriateness of a woman singing this song. Well, I think that war is not just a “man’s issue”. It is an issue for all mankind. I feel no conflict with Baez singing this song. Women have sons, brothers, and husbands that are lost in war, too. And when you hear Baez sing, believe me, any questions of appropriateness quickly fly out the window. She definitely makes this song her own.
She does a better job of the vocals than anyone I have heard, including Mark Knopfler, the writer of the tune. But there is an element missing.The music in the background serves as a vehicle for her voice. It is maudlin, and its mediocrity doesn’t become obvious until the song’s ending where the musicians no longer have the power of Baez’s voice to carry the ending.
Finally, after all these years, I sat down and had an un-interrupted, quiet, sustained listen to Dire Straits doing the original song.
Its strength is its weakness: Knopfler’s Gibson guitar. When most people talk to me about Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms being a “good song”, they are referring to the guitar work. The words of the song, which Knopfler nearly mumbles his way through, takes a back seat to the the guitar playing. In a real sense, the problem is the reverse of the Baez problem: while the voice is just “kind of there”, it is just a vehicle for the guitar. And as Baez shows us in no uncertain terms, the lyrics of the song have their own power in the hands of the right vocalist, making the most of what are powerful, poetic lyrics.
If only we had Knopfler’s guitar, and Baez’s voice doing that tune … we can only dream.
Here is the first of the cliche “Four guys on an album cover”. I first misread the title as “Jack not again”, but saw that the “n” had a tail like the way some people cursively write their lowercase p’s.
So, the album set in what is likely the early 70s, is “Jackpot Again”. I have little information on this unconvincing-looking Beatlesque foursome.
… But the Delltones show them that they can look unconvincing no matter what the clothing.
The Delltones actually have five members in their 2009 lineup, with fellow Queenslanders Woody Finlayson, Danny Mayers, Merv Dick, Ian “Peewee” Wilson, and Owen Booth.
They have kept a following since 1958, and still perform in gigs in Australia. Peewee Wilson appears to be the only enduring member.
Yes, the accordion is, apart from bagpipes, the instrument everyone loves to hate. Today we have a double bill. First, the duo Doug Setterberg and Stan Sorenson have this album called “Yust Try to Sing Along In Swedish”.
Sorenson and Setterberg might be Swedish by ethnicity, but all sources I have place these two in Seattle, Washington some time in the 1960s. Otherwise, I suspect the title wouldn’t be in english.
After Setterberg and Sorenson left the stage, this 400-pound gorilla came on stage, picked up the accordion, and started playing.
The members of the audience either didn’t notice, or noticed an improvement. “Hey, keep the Gorilla on stage! He sounds like Brian Eno, ” exclaimed one audience member.
“They Said It Couldn’t be Done”, if played at low volume, will likely qualify as the first ambient record, and certainly the first non-electric one. A sort of “PDQ Bach” for the polka crowd.
This was a 1959 release by Dominic Frontiere and his Mighty Accordion Band. Frontiere has gone on to compose well-known television themes, such as The Flying Nun, starring Sally Field; and the 70s crime show Vega$, starring Robert Urich.
The Willy Wall Trio is a group of musicians whose soft brand of jazz seems to have an appeal with many sites on the internet. I have seen titles from this album in compilations and from people reviewing the record. One of the tracks, “Cha Cha 89” does not place this record in 1989 for me, but the Winnebago motorhome depicted here places this record not much later than 1969:
It is quite good, if you like jazz. Two other tracks are “Movin & Groovin” and “Snowfall”. Many have categorized this as “lounge music”, and I would agree, but there is a strong thread of jazz to the music.
Movin’ & Groovin’:
If you are in trouble, don’t care what it is, Billy Swan can help. The song has made it to K-Tel infamy, thereby commercializing and commodifying yet another song about human compassion in the 70s. You can’t blame that on Swan, though.
This Missouri native had his start hanging out with Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters in the early 60s, and later on, writing tunes with fellow Missouri native Jospeph Henry Burnette, or “T-Bone Burnette” as he is known.
One can only hope that no swans were harmed in the making of this album cover.
It is unclear to me whether this “Scottish Sing-A-Long” uses the bagpipes, but the album cover makes it clear that the reactions to bagpipes is still felt by many.This drawing was made after someone probably catheterised one of the pipes from the bagpipe to his nether region, so that every time he blew, … well, you can figure it out.
In the grand tradition of Joseph Pujol (known as Le Petomane), Mr. Methane is an expert in farting controlled anal voicing. How does he do it? Apparently, he can take in air through either end of his body, and expel it again.He would blow audiences away with his rendition of the classics.
Mr Methane plays his, uh, “instrument” on a promotional video:
Whirlwind Heat formed 12 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michgan, and continue to make recordings of their own unique brand of alternative music.
For their 2006 offering, their second full-length album, they find that this young lady closes her eyes when she licks her wood. Or maybe she was told to. You never know with these photographers.
This is another woman who likes to close her eyes. There is also something that appears to be smoke rising from the banana. Or steam.
I have no information on the group Bananas or their recording “Get it & Come” “Come & Get It”. It’s probably a rock album. Most rock albums have something to do with the sex act or with getting laid in general, don’t they?