• [My Gang] Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip - I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper :…

    5 aug 2008, 22:35 av Babs_05

    Artist: Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip
    Track: I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper
    Tags: , , , ,


    I was going to recommend something serious and cerebral, along the lines of Gabriel Fauré's Pie Jesu but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum...

    I found an old video of Sarah Brightman performing the now definitive version of Pie Jesu, by Andrew Lloyd Webber. As lovely as it was and as much as I enjoy listening to Sarah, unfortunately I am old enough to remember when she first made it big. Unfortunately or fortunately? Because this is one of my all-time favourites.

    Hot Gossip were ITV's response to Pan's People, the dance troupe on BBC 1's Top of the Pops. Hot Gossip were camp, raunchy and most of all, didn't take themselves too seriously. It might interest some people to know they were created by Arlene Philips, who also choreographed all those naughty routines. I knew them from The Kenny Everett Video Show, which as we know, was all done in the best possible taste.

    So when Sarah Brightman, one of the Hot Gossip dancers and someone most of us hadn't heard of, appeared with the group with 'I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper' you can imagine the impact. The song makes references to Flash Gordon, which was still being repeated on BBC 2 in the 70s, there's a quick reference to the intergalactic music from Close Encounters of The Third Kind, which is also referenced in the line "What my body needs is close encounter three", and last but not least, Star Wars was absolutely huge and all things space related were being devoured by us.

    The song went to number six in the UK charts in November 1978. Thirty years later and we are still space obsessed, although perhaps it's more of a space/time continuum. 2008 is definitely David Tennant's year as Doctor Who. If we were devouring all things Star Wars in 1978, we are doing the same with all things Doctor Who now. Recent reports suggest Tennant has been offered £1.5 million to return as The Doctor in the next series. Back in the 70s, it was Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, the good Doctor's assistant, who was this loved.

    I hope you enjoyed this ramble into nothing in particular. More silly nonsense next week, I promise. It's August, what can I say...

    Babs My Gang

    Sarah Brightman, standing, left.

    Admin - Stats as of today:

    Date Added to YouTube: July 20, 2007
    Views: 175,633, Ratings: 441, Responses: 0, Comments: 359, Favorited: 1,423 times

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 164 (not available)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 713
    Position in Last 7 Days: 2 / 5
    Position in Last 6 Months: 2 / 57

    NB: The incorrect title, 'Starship Trooper' is more common : 427 listeners : 1,819 plays

    Stats after 7 days:

    Views: 180,672, Ratings: 452, Responses: 0, Comments: 365, Favorited: 1,451 times

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 171 (not available)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 729
    Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 13
    Position in Last 6 Months: 1 / 105

    300 Unique Visitors
    356 Page Views

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  • [My Gang] Fairport Convention - Farewell, Farewell : Reco of the Week 24 June 08

    24 jun 2008, 20:11 av Babs_05

    Artist: Fairport Convention
    Track: Farewell, Farewell
    Album: Liege & Lief, 1969
    Tags: , , ,


    This week's reco is mostly for me but if you like it too then all the better.

    Farewell, Farewell is one of those tracks that gets me every time, sentimental fool that I am. Seems I'm not the only one, going by people's comments here and in YouTube.


    Farewell, farewell to you who would hear
    You lonely travellers all
    The cold north winds will blow again
    The winding road does call.

    And you will never return to see
    Your bruised and beaten sons
    O I would,I would if welcome I were
    For they loathe me every one.

    And will you never cut the cloth
    Nor drink the light to be
    And can you never swear a year
    To anyone but he.

    No I will never cut the cloth
    Nor drink the light to be
    But I'll swear a year to he who lies
    Asleep alongside of me

    Richard Thompson wrote the lyrics, setting them to the tune of Fause Foodrage, now commonly used for Willie O Winsbury. (see links for ballads below).

    Pentangle recorded willy o winsbury on their album, Solomon's Seal, in 1972.

    Video Pentangle

    Willie O Winsbury exists in several variants. It's a traditional Scottish ballad dating from at least 1775 and known under a number of different names.

    Synopsis of the song (from wiki)

    A king is away for a long time. His daughter becomes pregnant by the hero, William or Thomas. The king threatens to hang him, but is struck by his beauty and offers him the heroine and gold. The hero accepts the lady but declares that he has both gold and lands enough of his own.

    Most recently, Kate Rusby recorded a version as John Barbury on Awkward Annie, Sept 2007. Sorry, she's not streamable here yet, the best I can do is a 30 sec preview in Amazon UK.

    Aaaaaah, happy now. : )

    Babs My Gang

    Wiki - Fairport Convention
    Kate Rusby interview, York Press, 14th September 2007
    Mudcat Cafe - discussion thread
    Wiki - Fause_Foodrage
    Wiki - Willie_o_Winsbury
    Wiki - Child Ballads

    Fairport Convention

    Admin - Stats as of today:

    Fairport Convention Video:
    Date Added: May 03, 2008
    Views: 452, Ratings: 3, Responses: 0, Comments: 3, Favourited: 7 times

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 5,692 (fully streamable)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 17,657
    Position in Top 20 Last Week: - 5 / 151
    Position in Top 100 Tracks: 4 / 3,970

    Pentangle Video:
    Date Added: February 14, 2007
    Views: 19,980, Ratings: 72, Responses: 0, Comments: 52, Favourited: 235 times

    Stats after 7 days:

    Fairport Convention Video:
    Views: 547, Ratings: 3, Responses: 0, Comments: 3, Favourited: 7 times

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 5,778 (fully streamable)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 17,913
    Position in Top 20 Last Week: - 3 / 133
    Position in Top 100 Tracks: 4 / 1,903

    The Pentangle Video:
    Views: 20,296, Ratings: 73, Responses: 0, Comments: 52, Favourited: 238 times

    203 Unique Visitors
    289 Page Views

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  • [My Gang] The Fall - 50 Year Old Man : Reco of the Week 01 Jul 08

    1 jul 2008, 17:16 av Babs_05

    Artist: The Fall
    Track: 50 Year Old Man full track
    Album: Imperial Wax Solvent (2008)
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Quite the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

    Mark E Smith gives us a self-deprecating rant about being 50 and how much he likes it. I found the lyrics online (below).

    The song stands at almost 12 mins and is in three parts, visiting styles The Fall have used before with an unexpected banjo section in the middle. It sounds bluegrass to me, though I might be wrong. It begins with gripes about computers and Virgin trains and continues with what he likes to do with hotel towels amongst other things. He's a proper grumpy old git. You can't say it's a return to form because The Fall never had any to begin with. They've always bemused and fascinated us right from the start. Utter nonsense but so inspirational at the same time.

    We're very proud of our local heroes in Manchester and there's none finer than Mark E Smith. He's ours. For the benefit of the rest of the world, here's The Fall's Wikipedia page.

    Lyrics (warning - contains strong language):

    Computer doesn't work for me
    I had a Sinclair back in 1983
    OL2QU, pre-warranty
    And don't forget he's still up to it
    That Steve Albini
    He's in collusion with Virgin trains
    Against me

    I'm a fifty year old man
    I'm a fifty year old man

    But it won't get me

    Go down Manchester town
    Can't navigate it
    The club scene, man
    You can't compare with it
    One third of securities count
    I can't understand that

    You're not real boy
    I say you're not real boy
    You're a gym [teacher]
    You're a Cancer and I expect
    A little shit

    I'm a fifty year old man
    And I like it

    I got a three foot rock hard on
    But I'm too busy to use it

    I'm a fifty year old man

    I'm a fifty year old man
    What you gonna do about it?

    I go round a hotel
    I see "Throw the towel on the floor"
    On The Green Man
    I throw it on the floor and
    I piss in it

    I'm a fifty year old man
    And I like it

    I'm trying to...

    And don't forget
    You try to destroy me
    You're in collusion with the trains
    Don't try and kid me

    I'm a fifty year old man

    Go down to the town
    Can't navigate it
    The club scene, man
    You can't get in there

    [Banjo interlude]

    [Backing vocals repeat: 50 year old man]

    I'm a fifty year old man
    And I like it
    I'm a fifty year old man
    What're you gonna do about it?

    And don't forget, you tried to destroy me
    Steve Albini
    You're in collusion with the trains
    Don't try and kid me

    I'm a fifty year old man
    And I like it
    I'm a fifty year old man
    What're you gonna do about it?

    I've got a three foot rock hard on
    But I'm too busy to use it

    I'm a fifty year old man
    And I like it
    I'm a fifty year old man
    What're you gonna do about it?

    Go down Manchester town
    Can't navigate it
    The club scene, man
    You can't compare with it

    I'm a fifty year old man
    And I like it
    I'm a fifty year old man
    What're you gonna do about it?

    And don't forget he's still up to it


    An inferior product mess
    An inferior product man
    Just over two thirds the price
    I'm proud of it
    I'm proud of it

    I'm a type of guy who knows what is on CD
    And then they lecture me on turning rubbish out
    While shouting themselves out of existence

    If they care so much, why don't they try eating
    some of those cardboard cut-outs themselves
    And they stuff the complimentary catering down their neck
    Do the fifth re-take of their attempt to be scruffy
    On a train
    And go back to counselling and communicating

    I'm an inferior product man
    I'm an inferior product mix
    They call me "Bad Head"
    Don't ever forget it
    And here is the fade out
    Fade out
    Fade out

    Source: soundopinions.org

    Babs My Gang

    Admin - Stats as of this week:

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 1,995 (fully streamable)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 4,956
    Position in Top 20 Last Week: 7 / 188
    Position in Top 100 Tracks: 76 / 882 (up 111)

    Stats after 7 days: (to be added)

    Unique Visitors
  • [My Gang] Bruce Springsteen - Candy's Room : Reco of the Week 27 May 08

    27 maj 2008, 16:30 av Babs_05

    Artist: Bruce Springsteen
    Track: Candy's Room
    Tags: , , ,

    Video, Live in Passaic, New Jersey, circa '78.

    Last Thursday, at around 3pm, I discovered Bruce Springsteen.

    I've been reading Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock 'n' Roll, by Sarfraz Manzoor. I was about half way through when it happened.

    From Amazon:

    Sarfraz Manzoor was three years old when he emigrated from Pakistan to Britain in 1974 with his mother, brother and sister. They came to join their father, who worked on the production line at Vauxhall, and settled in the Bury Park neighbourhood of Luton. Sarfraz's teenage years were a constant battle to reconcile being both British and Muslim. Frustrated by real life, he sought solace in TV and music. But it was when his best friend introduced him to Bruce Springsteen that his life changed forever. In this perceptive, affectionate and timely memoir, Sarfraz Manzoor retraces his journey from Lahore to Luton to Ladbroke Grove, from the minor frustrations of his childhood to his response and analysis of the tragedies of 9/11 and 7/7. Original, darkly tender and wryly amusing, it is an inspiring tribute to the power of music to transcend race and religion - and a touching salute of thanks from one working-class Pakistani Muslim boy to the father who died too soon for his son to make him proud.

    I am roughly the same age as the writer so there was a lot for me to identify with, except for this love of Bruce Springsteen. I've grown up hearing all the hits, enjoying a few of them too, but I never really looked any further. Last Thursday, with a little time on my hands, I picked up my book and logged into Last.fm. Bruce Springsteen is fully streamable (where I am) so I took the opportunity to hear what was so special. I wasn't expecting what I heard.

    The first album I played was Darkness on the Edge of Town because that was the first one Manzoor heard. It's nothing like the hits. There's another layer. The next album I tried was The Ghost of Tom Joad. Not only is there another layer, it's in another league. Dark, thoughtful, reflective, morose, deep, sad. I never thought I'd attribute these words to Springsteen. I thought he was all Born in the USA, upbeat, easy listening and good fun.

    Reading the book, I learnt there's an integrity to Springsteen's lyrics. They're about being true to yourself and being the best you can be. They're about poverty, politics, society, relationships especially between fathers and sons, they're about factories and cities, surviving in an urban environment. They're philosophical and they're about life. His closest musical relative is Bob Dylan.

    You can't listen and not want to study the lyrics. Here's your new best friend - Bruce Springsteen official site.

    Where Dylan uses a folk style to deliver his messages, Springsteen uses classic rock. It's masculine and hard-edged, apart from the hits which are enormous fun. This is why Candy's Room jumped out at me. It's nothing like any of his other tracks.

    The first thing that struck me was the drums. I had the volume on low so I could read at the same time. I love drumming but I don't think I've ever heard a track where the drums carry all the emotion. It's the drums that drive the song, conveying passion and frustration. There's a guitar solo but I suspect it's to give the poor drummer a break. It must be extremely painful to go at that speed.

    The song is about the thrill of a kiss. The drums describe the rush of blood and the excitement the guy feels. I'm not sure if he's fantasising or if it's a girl he's just met. Looking at the lyrics, he's someone without much experience, young, a bit shy with not that much to offer, whilst Candy has any number of rich suitors to choose from. The guy doesn't know how to compete but is convinced he's the right one for her.


    In Candy's room there are pictures of her heroes on the wall
    but to get to Candy's room you gotta walk the darkness of Candy's hall
    Strangers from the city call my baby's number and they bring her toys
    When I come knocking she smiles pretty she knows I wanna be Candy's boy
    There's a sadness hidden in that pretty face
    A sadness all her own from which no man can keep Candy safe

    We kiss, my heart's rushes to my brain
    The blood rushes in my veins fire rushes towards the sky
    We go driving driving deep into the night
    I go driving deep into the light in Candy's eyes

    She says baby if you wanna be wild
    you got a lot to learn, close your eyes
    Let them melt, let them fire, let them burn
    Cause in the darkness there'll be hidden worlds that shine
    When I hold Candy close she makes these hidden worlds mine

    She has fancy clothes and diamond rings
    She has men who give her anything she wants but they don't see
    That what she wants is me,
    oh and I want her so
    I'll never let her go, no no no
    She knows that I'd give
    all that I got to give
    All that I want all that I live
    to make Candy mine

    Copyright © Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)

    The video I've chosen is in black & white, filmed around 1978. You can see the drummer really well, and doesn't Bruce Springsteen look young! I think the drumming comes across much better in the recorded version. I hope wherever you are, Last.fm has the fully streamable track for you.

    Springsteen is currently touring the UK, appearing in Manchester tomorrow. Have a great time, all of you who are going. Come and tell us how he was!

    Thanks to Last.fm for the fully streamable albums.
    Thanks to my family for recommending the book.

    Babs My Gang

    Admin - Stats as of today:

    Date Added to YouTube: May 01, 2006
    Comments: 44, Favorited: 324 times, Honors: 0, Links: 5, Ratings: 110, Views: 27,538

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 11,966 (fully streamable)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 43,996
    Position in Top 10 Last Week: n/a
    Position in Top 100 Tracks: 77 / 3,889

    Stats after 7 days:

    Comments: 46, Favorited: 324 times, Honors: 0, Links: 5, Ratings: 111, Views: 27,791

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 12,118 (fully streamable)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 44,565
    Position in Top 10 Last Week: n/a
    Position in Top 100 Tracks: 77 / 3,889

    226 Unique Visitors
    315 Page Views

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  • [My Gang] D-Mob - We Call It Acieed : Reco of the Week 12 Aug 08

    12 aug 2008, 22:07 av Babs_05

    Artist: D-Mob
    Track: We Call It Acieed
    Tags: , , , ,


    I remember seeing this the first and only time it was shown on Top of the Pops, 20 October 1988. I was about to sit down to dinner with my friends when the song came on. We all stopped talking and just turned to the tv. We looked at the screen, looked back at each other, looked at the screen again, then burst out laughing. To put it in some context, also on the show was Enya with Orinoco Flow, and Whitney Houston was at number one with the excruciating One Moment in Time.


    Although house music had been bubbling underground in its own subculture for a while, this was the first time it had gone mainstream. Mistakenly, people immediately assumed it had to do with drugs but it was more to do with a mindset and a coming together of Chicago/Detroit/New York , in the UK and beat from Ibiza.

    Acid House ravers, 1989

    For most of us, the second summer of love happened in the press and the evening news. We heard about secret raves and warehouse parties where huge crowds gathered just to dance and where the police focussed all their attentions on non-violent events. Eventually, laws were passed to stop people from dancing in large numbers, clubs were forced to close at ridiculously early hours, even people celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall were stopped. The Beastie Boys must have seen it coming. Fight for Your Right (1986)

    As is usual with media hysteria and the general public believing the lies, some shops stopped selling anything with smiley faces and the new subculture was viewed with great suspicion for its tolerance of race, creed, gender and sexuality. It was the press who called it the Second Summer of Love, a period which stretched from 1988 to about 1990. Whilst mainstream radio and tv refused to play the new acid / house music, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing it. I remember being in a pizza restaurant with work colleagues when Lil Louis' French Kiss came on. Not exactly appropriate dinner music. (and why do these things always happen when I'm having my dinner??)

    The time period is associated with Ecstacy but does anyone remember what it cost? I always wondered about this. The late 80s was when real Ecstacy was going round, proper MDMA, and it wasn't cheap. Around that time, someone tried to sell me a tablet for £50. I was shocked - that was more than my weekly rent! It's just another one of those lies, like everybody was involved in the first summer of love of 1967and they were all swinging hippies. They weren't. Just like the second summer of love, rave culture and everyone supposedly on E's, it mostly happened in the press, not in real life. More often than not, they served as convenient smokescreens for more serious matters, such changes in government policy. Thatcher's Britain met its downfall with the poll tax riots of 31 March 1990. She was to leave Parliament later the same year, in November.

    I could never do crowds and was never one for substances, not even headache pills, so I never managed to get to one of these raves. I didn't even know how people heard of them. The closest I got was house parties and London clubs. Hand on heart, I can honestly say the atmosphere was lovely. Everyone smiled at each other, talked to each other, and we all felt safe. There wasn't an ounce of aggression, the good mood was so contagious. Plus, I could enjoy a night out and come home with change out of £20. The only thing I needed was a cup of coffee around 2am. Bar Italia, opposite Ronnie Scotts was brilliant for that.

    I found this online - Summer of Love - it's a mashup of music from the two summers of love, 1967 and 1988. You don't have to download, you can just listen via the VW Van player.

    There we are. I did promise you silly nonsense this week. Sorry I got a bit carried away with the old memories. I've added some further reading below, in case anyone's interested.

    Babs My Gang

    Back To Skool

    'We Call It Acieeed' by D-Mob was the first Acid House track to enter the Top-20 singles music chart. The culture of Acid House music began in the 1980s and was described as 'Cheap synthesizer sounds, fluctuating bass lines and minimal vocals'. It generated a new club culture and new form of 'Trance Dance' often associated with the Ecstasy drug.
    20th Century London

    'We Call It Acieeed' - D Mob
    It was 1988, the Summer of Love. Everyone wore dungarees, Kickers and bandanas. Clubs such as Shoom and Spectrum were awash with tie-dye. A big smiley face shone down on all of us dancing like loons, running on the spot, arms waving at imaginary air-traffic. But this was the advent of something big, something new. Dance music was sweeping up youth and feeding it ecstasy. Tabloid hysteria followed. The Sun's medical correspondent Vernon Coleman warned potential drug-takers, "You will hallucinate ... if you don't like spiders, you'll start seeing giant ones". Scarey stuff. Sir Ralph Halpern banned smiley t-shirts from Top Shop and TOTP went 'mental, mental', reluctantly playing the video once but not permitting a live performance. D Mob's risible dance-floor mash-up 'We Call It Acieeed' may have been removed from our screens but it did jack into the charts at No.3.
    BBC Top 5 Banned Songs

    House music is uptempo music for dancing and has a comparatively narrow tempo range, generally falling between 118 beats per minute (bpm) and 135 bpm, with 127 bpm being about average since 1996.

    Far and away the most important element of the house drumbeat is the (usually very strong, synthesized, and heavily equalized) kick drum pounding on every quarter note of the 4/4 bar, often having a "dropping" effect on the dancefloor. Commonly this is augmented by various kick fills and extended dropouts (aka breakdowns). Add to this basic kick pattern hihats on the eighth-note offbeats (though any number of sixteenth-note patterns are also very common) and a snare drum and/or clap on beats 2 and 4 of every bar, and you have the basic framework of the house drumbeat.

    This pattern is derived from so-called "four-on-the-floor" dance drumbeats of the 1960s and especially the 1970s disco drummers. Due to the way house music was developed by DJs mixing records together, producers commonly layer sampled drum sounds to achieve a larger-than-life sound, filling out the audio spectrum and tailoring the mix for large club sound systems.

    Techno and trance, the two primary dance music genres that developed alongside house music in the mid 1980s and early 1990s respectively, can share this basic beat infrastructure, but usually eschew house's live-music-influenced feel and black or Latin music influences in favor of more synthetic sound sources and approach.
    Blog - House Music - What Is It?

    Acid House

    20th Century London - 1980 - 1989

    Professor examines how music genre unified a youth subculture

    Times Online, August 6, 2008 - Music The BBC Banned

    Wikipedia - House Music
    Wikipedia - Second Summer of Love

    Blog - The Acid House

    Admin - Stats as of today:

    Date Added to YouTube: March 04, 2007
    Views: 70,076, Ratings: 184, Responses: 0, Comments: 194, Favorited: 835 times

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 2,412 (streamable)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 5,012
    Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 22
    Position in Last 6 Months: 1 / 572

    Stats after 7 days:

    Views: 71,628, Ratings: 189, Responses: 0, Comments: 199, Favorited: 859 times

    Last.fm listeners of this track - 2,429 (streamable)
    No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 5,047
    Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 32
    Position in Last 6 Months: 1 / 572

    270 Unique Visitors
    321 Page Views

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  • What's new in the Music Stash?

    10 okt 2008, 03:07 av dmaxRadio

    I've been collecting a lot of stuff, and admittedly haven't focused on it like in the old days, where you'd bring home "Animals" and listen to it over and over, focusing on everything until it was burned in your brain. Pity, because that was the best way.

    I think I totally love Guillemots "Through The Windowpane", although I haven't been able to completely focus on it. Like the description of wines, I would characterize it as having a bit of Blue Nile, Bebop Deluxe, EL&P (in the background), and Prefab Sprout. I caught a bit of it on KCRW and immediately bought it (really!).

    Also picked up the new Todd record "Arena" but haven't given it the focused listen. I'm too much on random play these days, I think. The album experience is gone, unless it's something old.

    I just downloaded an immense collection called "ivault" that I'll probably never listen to, but it's part of my Prince collection nonetheless. leftovers from the 80s until now.

    Also got:
    Cloud Cult, based on liking what I heard on RadioParadise

    the new Byrne & Eno, "Everything That Will Happen Will Happen Today," which does NOT sound like a follow up to "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts," but more like a sequel to "Wrong Way Up," which I didn't care for

    and the new Keane, a Kevin Gilbert/Toy Matinee summary, the latest Walter Becker, a Richard Wright album, "The Quine Tapes", and the latest The Sea and Cake, but haven't played any of them enough to comment yet.

    I fleshed out my Starcastle collection, including some rough cuts and early versions. God, I love those guys, despite the hard slap in the face every time I put the album on. Homage or rip-off? I love em.

    And, last and least (so far) is the Paul Westerberg experiment "49:00" which bloggers love, but I couldn't listen to. Playing it as I did some chores around the house, it was weirding me out with its crossfades, cacophony, and lack of a coherent idea. This, apparently, is what makes this something new and special. I guess that this will be the next on my list to put on my headphones as I make the long commute.

    The last album that got that treatment was "Aerial," and my reward was discovering one of the best records in years. The second album of the two included in "Aerial" is like "Another Green World," impossible to appreciate in the background at a party, but more intimate and compelling when it's the only thing that you're doing. It's a brilliant, emotive song cycle (tracking through a single day, morning to night and back to dawn) that's an exploration of contentment - not the topic of most rock and roll, which is usually about angst, conflict, and desire.

    "Aerial" (the second disk) is one of the greatest things going, and I heartily recommend it - but only if you're at a point in your life where contentment is something fits on your radar. If you're in college or younger, its ideas might not align with your place in the trajectory of life yet.

    Now get off my lawn.
  • Still the Boss, but getting older...

    2 apr 2009, 07:59 av dmaxRadio

    Wed 1 Apr – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

    There was nothing wrong with Springsteen's Boss-like qualities tonight. Some poor oldster sitting next to me looked like he'd been railroaded into having to go, and said that he'd never seen Bruce apart from the Super Bowl performance, which had impressed him. At some point in the middle of the show, he turned to me and asked if he wrote his own material.

    But, repeatedly, the geezer turned to me agape and said "He's not taking a break! He just keeps going!"

    And it's true. Although he jogs instead of sprints, and climbs instead of leaps, he's still all over the stage interacting with the band, the audience, and looks to be having a really good time up there. He played for about three full hours. One encore. Almost constant music. Amazing.

    I put off seeing Sinatra until it was a certainty that his talent was gone, and then I didn't bother, and then he was dead. Do not let that happen if you've never seen Springsteen. It's mandatory!

    Now the bad news: awful song selection. Poor continuity, lots of more recent songs that leave you bored (he stopped writing songs with interesting portions in them, and now they're simple monotonous backgrounds for his lyrics to sit on top of).

    When he did the anthems (Born to Run, Thunder Road, Badlands) they seemed mandatory, and I projected onto him a sense of resentment that he couldn't move forward because the fans wanted the hits. However, songs like "Radio Nowhere" and "Lucky Day" are really not very good songs. If they were written by anyone else, they would've been ignored. But since it's The Boss...they're great! (Not really)

    And did he play "Johnny 99" with every single band member making as much noise as possible, just to point out how his original, sparse, version was the proper one? I like to think so.

    There was one moment that I found remarkable. Someone in the crowd handed him a sign saying "Growin Up" and Bruce acknowledged it into the mic, said "This is for you, San Jose" and then showed the card to the band members, counted it off, and played the tune. I hadn't seen the song on his warm-up set list, and the new band members stepped off stage while he played it, and the light show was simple - so I think he really did just play it on a whim. Marvelous.

    So, it was a very good show, and I don't want to be to negative about it, because Bruce is still unquestionably The Boss and NO ONE puts on a show like he has. But I would've appreciated more songs fromDarkness at the Edge of Town, andThe River, or even Nebraska, and less of the ones that he's done recently that seem to drag and drone.

    It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.
  • Four or Five Crazy Guys

    26 apr 2009, 23:31 av dmaxRadio

    Fri 24 Apr – Forward Into The Past...

    The four or five crazy guys reunited in a one-off show in Monterey on Friday night, because a friend let them have the place for the night. No agents, no overhead. According to Ossman, they wanted to see if they could do it. And, they pulled it off brilliantly.

    The two sets were re-tooled bits from all their older stuff and newer. I recognized parts of Don't Crush That Dwarf and Bozos and How Can You Be (including a properly abbreviated Nick Danger), including Giant Rat of Sumatra and Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death and even Boom Dot Bust. They finished with the wonderful train of thought sequence from How Can You Be...

    Whew. And all of those are so dense with wordplay, cultural references, and general silliness that it was like a giant wave of genius repeatedly washing against your brain. And I mean that in a good way.

    In fact, at the end of both sets, when the ending began to recall the opening of the set, but reimagined, the coordinated chaotic layers of their writing and performing were so dense that I couldn't do more than tilt my head back, close my eyes with contented joy, let it all pour into my mind without thinking, and realize, yes, that it was as good as I remembered, yes, the sea.

    The sea.

    Crimson - sometimes like fire - and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes
    and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar
    as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain
    yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used

    or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought as well as well him as another
    and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes

    and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower
    and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes
    and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes....

    and then the lights went down and they were gone again

  • 1971: Meaning behind America's "A Horse with no Name"

    17 jul 2009, 22:50 av ohh1972

    A Horse With No Name

    A Horse With No Name
    Written by Dewey Bunnell, 1971
    Performed by: America

    On the first part of the journey
    I was looking at all the life
    There were plants and birds and rocks and things
    There was sand and hills and rings
    The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
    And the sky with no clouds
    The heat was hot and the ground was dry
    But the air was full of sound

    I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
    It felt good to be out of the rain
    In the desert you can remember your name
    'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
    La, la ...

    After two days in the desert sun
    My skin began to turn red
    After three days in the desert fun
    I was looking at a river bed
    And the story it told of a river that flowed
    Made me sad to think it was dead

    You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
    It felt good to be out of the rain
    In the desert you can remember your name
    'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
    La, la ...

    After nine days I let the horse run free
    'Cause the desert had turned to sea
    There were plants and birds and rocks and things
    there was sand and hills and rings
    The ocean is a desert with it's life underground
    And a perfect disguise above
    Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
    But the humans will give no love

    You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
    It felt good to be out of the rain
    In the desert you can remember your name
    'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
    La, la ...


    A tune as famous as this one deserves a detailed explanation, though Bunnell suggests that its meaning has evolved over time: "I was messing around with some open tunings--I tuned the A string way down to an E, and I found this little chord, and I just moved my two fingers back and forth, and the entire song came from basically three chords. I wanted to capture the imagery of the desert, because I was sitting in this room in England, and it was rainy. The rain was starting to get to us, and I wanted to capture the desert and the heat and the dryness."

    The imagery came from Dewey's childhood: "I had spent a good deal of time poking around in the high desert with my brother when we lived at Vandenberg Air Force Base [in California]. And we'd drive through Arizona and New Mexico. I loved the cactus and the heat. I was trying to capture the sights and sounds of the desert, and there was an environmental message at the end. But it's grown to mean more for me. I see now that this anonymous horse was a vehicle to get me away from all the confusion and chaos of life to a peaceful, quiet place."

    Bunnell adds an aside about his choice of language in the song: "I have taken a lot of poetic license in my use of grammar, and I always cringe a little bit at my use of 'aint's,' like 'ain't no one for to give you no pain' in "Horse." I've never actually spoken that way, but I think it conveys a certain honesty when you're not picking and choosing your words, and you use that kind of colloquialism."

    "A Horse With No Name" broke more than the rules of English--it broke America as a major recording act in Britain, the U.S., and Europe. After reaching #3 in the U.K., it was released in the States, where it topped the Pop chart for three weeks in March/April 1972. It stirred some controversy--stations in Kansas City and elsewhere banned the song for supposed drug references ("horse" being a street name for heroin at the time).

  • Sweet Cherry Wine anyone?

    22 sep 2009, 22:38 av ohh1972

    Van Morrison keeps mentioning "sweet cherry wine" in his lyrics, especially in those from the 70's. I've been wondering about it. Was it particularly popular then? Is it some mysterious slang term for something completely different that I just don't understand? Am I missing something here?

    I've never had cherry wine and haven't come across it anywhere either. So my Google-fu was consulted and promptly delivered many a recipe. Not exactly being Miss Domestic, I don't know if I will actually ever attempt to make it but the tastiest-sounding recipe shall be recorded right here just in case! =]


    6 pounds cherries
    1 pound raisins
    5 cups granulated sugar
    2 campden tablets
    1 teaspoon nutrients
    3/4 teaspoon pectic enzyme
    1 large orange (juice only)
    1 package wine yeast

    Crush cherries. The goal here is to break the skin of every fruit to help the juice leach into the water, but not to damage the stones. Place them in the primary fermentor. Add enough cold water to cover. Stir in crushed campden tablets and pectic enzyme. Let sit for 2 days.

    Strain fruit, squeezing out as much juice as possible. Add the balance of the ingredients (except yeast) and make up to 1 gallon with water. Check the specific gravity. It should be between 1.090 and 1.110. Add yeast and mix in well. Cover primary fermentor. Stir daily for three to five days, until frothing ceases.

    Put into secondary fermentor and attach airlock. Finish as for dry wine or sweet wine.


    Method 2:
    Remove pits from the cherries, being careful not to damage the stones. Place fruit in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover. Simmer over low heat (or in a double boiler) for 1 hour. DO NOT let it boil dry. Strain the pulp out of the juice. Mix the pulp with some hot water and strain it again. In primary fermentor, combine sugar, orange juice, campden tablets, nutrients and warm juice. Cool to 85'F (30'C). Add pectic enzyme. Let sit overnight. Add water to make up to one gallon. Add wine yeast. Cover and stir daily for two days. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock. Finish as for dry wine or sweet wine.