Thursday, June 30, 2016

Corey Hart: First Offense (1984)

"Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades; oh no
Don't masquerade with the guy in shades;
(oh no) (I can't believe it)
You got it made with the guy in shades; oh no"

I'll admit that this is a rather embarrassing part of my record collection, but I paid nothing for it. Somewhat interestingly, an old friend's brother went to high school with Mr. Hart. That's three degrees of separation, for those of you who are counting.

I have to say that First Offense is a kind of a brilliant and perhaps ironic title for this record. I don't think any artist has done better and it makes me laugh. On the other hand, it's probably his best record, as it contains his big hit, Sunglasses at Night, which was marketed with a cheesy video. I'll admit that there was a time when that song seemed OK to my ears. It no longer does, except in a nostalgic way. The opening sometimes makes me think that the Eurythmics were a big influence, and maybe they were. On the other hand, this record also contains the appalling It Ain't Enough.

This record screams 80s, but not the good 80s. As Allmusic notes: "All the cliched '80s sounds are here in full force, from the brooding saxophone, the bratty guitar solo, the snotty background vocalists, and the catchy keyboard riffs." [source] I have no idea what a bratty guitar solo is and I have even less idea of what snotty background vocalists are, but that sentence encapsulates the record perfectly.

I do like a woman in uniform :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Deborah Harry: Def, Dumb & Blonde (1989)

This record is far better than I would have guessed. I don't remember what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised. Allmusic gives it a surprising 4.5 stars. The CD version has a few extra tracks, but I have never heard them. This LP does not sound like Blondie, but it sounds OK to me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods (1987)

Jerry Harrison, formerly of The Modern Lovers and Talking Heads, has released some solid music of his own, like this LP right here. If you know a track from this record, it's likely to be Rev it Up, which is a really cool song with lots of energy. It has some especially great guitar parts, but I don't think that is the official video, below :). Man With a Gun also got some airplay.

Monday, June 27, 2016

George Harrison: Cloud Nine (1987)

George took five years off, and then came back with Cloud Nine, which is a really good album. The LP had a couple of big hits, and the whole affair is very polished, perhaps even a tad too polished. I'm conflicted about the whole Jeff Lynne thing, since I am not a lover of ELO. But, the album works very well.

Friday, June 24, 2016

George Harrison: Gone Troppo (1982)

I think that some reviewers were a little too harsh in reviewing this record. The problem is that George released his best work near the beginning of his solo career and I think it was hard for him to equal that. The other thing is that the record suffers a bit from mediocre 80s production. But, I think this is a far better album than some reviewers would have you believe, apart from the last track, which is really not very good at all.

It's too bad that the Beatles didn't record more of his songs. Sometimes, I think he wrote the best of the Beatles songs.

I dislike the album jacket.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

George Harrison: Somewhere in England (1981)

Somewhere in England contains the closest thing to a Beatles reunion, at least until Free as a Bird, which really wasn't a reunion, but more of an endeavor in musical archaeology plus some editing. But, all four members were present, even if John sounded like a ghost. All Those Years Ago features Ringo on drums and Paul McCartney doing some over dubs on vocals. This track, of course, was atribute to John, who was murdered a few months prior to the release of this record.

This is a good record. The video for All Those Years Ago makes me sad, though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

George Harrison: George Harrison (1979)

I guess by this point, George realized that he had not released a self-titled record, and decided that the time had come. So, here, several records into his solo career, is a self-titled record.

When I first heard this record, I wasn't convinced that I was actually listening to a George Harrison record. It's a very smooth record, and it's perhaps a bit too over-produced, with tracks that don't quite do it. I had high hopes for Here Comes the Moon, which would suggest a sequel or tie-in to Here Comes the Sun. On that level, it's a disappointment. It's OK, but the title is full of possibility that is never realized. I think this is a case of expectations ruining what is otherwise a pretty good track.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

George Harrison: Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)

This record was pressed in Canada, but I have the US version. I get the sense that George was struggling here a bit, thought there are couple of good songs, like Crackerbox Palace and This Song. In the end, I would rate this higher than some of the contemporary reviewers. George might have been my favourite Beatle, but it's hard to say. So, I have a positive view of his music, in general.

Monday, June 20, 2016

George Harrison ‎– Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975)

I have the US Winchester pressing, which seems identical to the Jacksonville pressing, but I could be wrong. Both come in a die-cut "pigskin" textured sleeve.

This record was his final recording for Apple Records. Many people, including Peter Sellers, are listed as not appearing on the record, which I guess is funny. Wikipedia notes that "[a]mong his solo releases, Extra Texture is notable as the only album whose lyrics are devoid of any obvious spiritual message." Maybe that's why I don't hate it, when many others do. I think this record is widely regarded as a soul effort, which makes it less interesting than it should be. Also, there is little of substance in the lyrics, so maybe he was struggling with the idea of a non-spiritual record. While I don't hate it, this is probably is weakest record, but the following track, which seems like a fairly obvious sequel to While My Guitar Gently Weeps, is pretty good.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

George Harrison: Living in the Material World (1973)

This is a really great George record, but I gather that some listeners found themselves let down after the brilliant triple album, All Things Must Pass. That's too bad because this is a really strong record.

I've always loved George's voice and his guitar playing, so I am usually fully engaged, with some exceptions. Bowie did a really good cover of Try Some Buy Some IMHO. Unfortunately, when I think of this record, what often comes to mind is Madonna's Material Girl, even though the line she uses is "living in a material world," which is subtly different. It's also a really terrible song. But, I will be frank: there is no Madonna music that I like, although I think there are a couple of tracks on Ray of Light that are not offensive ear worms.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

George Harrison: Wonderwall Music (1968)

Wonderwall was the first solo record from a Beatles member, but it is an odd one, being the soundtrack to the film of the same name. Not surprisingly, I have never seen the film.

The music is heavily influenced by Indian music. Anyone who is familiar with Harrison at this time would know of his fascination with Indian music and religion. The album has been both praised and dissed, as far as I can tell, and I think it has been treated better in hindsight. The public always seems to know what it wants, and the weight of expectations sometimes gets in the way. I like the record, but I like drone and I do like some Indian music and tabla music. That's not to say that the entire record sounds Indian. There is some diversity.

The only other thing I will say is: piss off, Oasis, you bunch of scurvy bastards. I have never owned any Oasis music in any format and I quite honesty cannot figure out what that appeal is. They really thought they were the new Beatles. They were not.

Ii wish I had an original pressing from 1968; instead, I have a German pressing from 1986.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Harmonia & Eno '76: Edward Versions (2015)

I will let Wikipedia give the details on Harmonia:

"Harmonia is a Krautrock supergroup from Germany. They formed as a collaboration between Michael Rother of Neu! and Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Möbius of Cluster and later included the British musician Brian Eno." [source]

I have some music from this band on CD, including Tracks and Traces, which was released under the moniker of Harmonia '76. Oddly, that record was recorded in 1976 but not released until 1997. The 2009 reissue was released as Harmonia & Eno '76, the same credit as this EP. I don't think a vinyl version of that album exists.

This EP is absolutely gorgeous. I just wish it was longer. It contains two pieces, Athmosphere (Edward's Desert Version) and Sehr Kosmisch (Edward's Close To Pompeii Version) and both are brilliant. The Edward in question is Gilles Aiken.