Thursday, September 03, 2015

Bob Dylan: Street-Legal (1978)

I've read that this record has divided critics and fans for years. Perhaps that should be an indication that this is a good record? There are other examples of records that were dismissed by critics upon release but have gone on to attain seminal status. OMD's Dazzle Ships and Lou Reed's Berlin are two examples.

But, while this may be good, it is not a great record. I like it, but there are several better Dylan albums, in my humble opinion. One gets the sense that Dylan really isn't trying very hard, but who am I to say?

I could not find any appropriate clips on Youtube.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Bob Dylan: New Morning (1970)

I sort of ignored Bob Dylan for years. I always knew who he was and I knew many of his songs, but it never occurred to me to buy his records and listen to them from end to end. Even Leonard Cohen's public love for Dylan's music couldn't convince me. This changed in the CD era, which is why I have virtually everything he ever released on CD, including the bootleg series. One day, some years ago, I bought a cheap copy of Highway 61 Revisited and I was hooked.

I can't justify finding all of Dylan's releases on vinyl, 'cause that would be hugely expensive. Used Dylan records are generally pricey and I already own them on CD, albeit with inferior sound quality.

If Not For You, the lead off track on New Morning, was already familiar to me because of my brother. For reasons I have yet to fully understand, my brother was a huge Olivia Newton John fan and I heard her cover version way too many times. Two other tracks really stand out for me: Day of the Locusts and One More Weekend.

I didn't realize that Bob Dylan tracks were hard to find on Youtube. So, I've got nothing.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Ian Dury: Lord Upminster (1981)

"I am Spartacus" - Spartacus, 1960.

The first time I saw this record, I misread the title as Lloyd Upminster.

This album is famous for the track Spasticus (Autisticus), a song that was subsequently banned by the BBC and the subject of some debate on its merits. Some felt it was insensitive to the disabled while others, who recognized the irony in the song, applauded the message. Dury, himself disabled, wrote the song as part of a protest against the International Year of Disabled Persons. Wikipedia has a brief description of the track and of the controversy and Dangerous Minds has a longer article on the topic. More recently, it's safe to say that opinion has solidified on one side of the debate. The song was used in the 2012 Paralympics, though it was performed by a different act, given Dury's passing in 2000.

This record isn't as good as the first three, but Allmusic is a little uncharitable and they failed to address the controversy of the aforementioned track: "Lord Upminster turned out to be a set of uninspired funk that lacks the joyful energy of his three previous records." [link] How could they miss the opportunity to write about this song?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ian Dury And The Blockheads: Laughter (1980)

To me, this record is a bit of a disappointment, but there are moments that I enjoy. Ian's sense of humour is present. It sounds like an Ian Dury record. But, it's just not as good, though it is still not bad. Apart from Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, the other Dury song that most people recognize is Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick. It was only available as a single (which I think my sister had) and on some compilations as well as the CD versions of Do It Yourself. So, oddly, I do not have that song on vinyl and I have no Dury CDs.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ian Dury And The Blockheads: Do it Yourself (1979)

On Ian Dury's second release, Do It Yourself, it seemed like he wanted to be a disco star. Well, perhaps disco-pup rock. I don't think this record is as good as the first, but it's quirky and fun. It kept me entertained.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ian Dury: New Boots and Panties!! (1977)

Ian Dury died in the year 2000 at age 57. At age 7, Dury contracted Polio. We are lucky to have a vaccine against Polio today. Don't let the anti-vaxxers sway you into believing that vaccines are poison. Vaccines are a scientific and public health triumph. A couple of parents of my childhood friends suffered through Polio, and carried the burden with them for the rest of their lives. Irresponsible anti-vaxxers ought to be held accountable if Polio ever makes a comeback in North America.

As a result of Polio, Dury was disabled and it left him with a quirky stage presence, albeit one that he tried to hide. That, combined with witty lyrics--sung with a thick Cockney accent, and backed by a rock, punk, and even pseudo-disco music--made the whole enterprise interesting and appealing, though I am not sure how long that could have been sustained.

Once again, the original UK pressing differs from the Canadian pressing. In this case, I think the domestic version, which I have, is better because it contains the single, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, which is not on the UK pressing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Duran Duran: The Wild Boys b/w The Wild Boys (Wilder Than Wild Boys Extended Mix) & (I'm Looking For) Cracks In The Pavement (1983)

Misheard lyrics always crack me up. I've had a few myself, but I never ever thought that Hendrix was singing "kiss this guy." Anyway, when this song came out, a good friend of mine thought that they were singing "Choir Boys" in the opening chant. I really have no idea how he came up with that, but I cannot listen to Wild Boys without remembering that. Anyway, this is a Canadian 12" single. There are far better Duran Duran songs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Durran Duran: New Moon on Monday b/w New Moon On Monday (Remix) & Tiger Tiger (1983)

My copy of this 12" single is a UK pressing. I am pretty sure that I had never seen the video for the track until now. How can that be?

"Shake up the picture the lizard mixture
With your dance on the eventide

It's not a bad track.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Duran Duran: Union of the Snake b/w Union Of The Snake (Single Version) & Secret Oktober (1983)

I am not sure that I understand this song. The video is effective, even though I prefer the more scandalous Duran Duran videos. I have a common Canadian version of this 12" single.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Duran Duran: Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)

The Reflex, The Union of the Snake, and New Moon on Monday were the big three singles from this record. I suppose Allmusic gets it right in its review: "Although they may have turned their songwriting down a notch in order to succumb to the pabulum of synthesized pop, they didn't relinquish every aspect of their genius, and when they do deliver, it's bright, energetic, and effectual." [link]

Friday, August 21, 2015

Duran Duran: Carnival (1982)

Carnival contains four remixed tracks. Apparently, it was released in a limited edition, but I have no idea how many copies that equates to. I really wish they would say how many copies are in limited editions. I mean, theoretically, the limited edition could have 900,000 copies. The tracks, on the Canadian release, are:

Hungry Like The Wolf (Extended Remix Version)
Girls On Film (Extended Night Version)
Hold Back The Rain (Extended Remix Version)
My Own Way (Remix Version)

By the way, I have no CDs of Duran Duran.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Duran Duran: Rio (1982)

Once again, there are several versions of this release depending on which country it was sold in (my copy is a Canadian pressing). And, once again, there is sex, especially in the video of Chauffeur which features lingerie, nudity, and implied female bisexuality. It must have been awesome to have been in this band.

It seemed like whenever I tuned on the TV to watch any of those video hits shows, Hungry Like the Wolf  (a blatant rip off of the style of Raiders of the Lost Ark) was always being played. I think it is fair to say that it was all downhill from here for Duran Duran. They had a few OK tracks here and there, but the first two records were clearly the strongest.