Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Robert Palmer: Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley (1974)

"The career of blue-eyed soul singer Robert Palmer was a study in style versus substance. While the performer's earliest work won praise for its skillful assimilation of rock, R&B, and reggae sounds, his records typically sold poorly, and he achieved his greatest notoriety as an impeccably dressed lounge lizard. By the mid-'80s, however, Palmer became a star, although his popularity owed less to the strength of his material than to his infamous music videos: taking their cue from the singer's suave presence, Palmer's clips established him as a dapper, suit-and-tie lady's man who performed his songs backed by a band comprised of leggy models, much to the delight of viewers who made him one of MTV's biggest success stories. " [source]

And so begins Allmusic's biography of the late Robert Palmer. I will have to dissent, for I have always loved Palmer's music, even when it reached its misogynistic fever pitch in the Addicted to Love and Simply Irresistible videos. Wikipedia's introduction is far more charitable: "He was known for his distinctive, soulful voice, eclectic mix of musical styles on his albums, combining soul, jazz, rock, pop, reggae, blues, and sartorial acumen." [source

I first heard Palmer singing Bad Case of Loving (Doctor Doctor) -- one of a number of songs he recorded but didn't write -- on the radio in my dad's car, I think. But, that song was from a later record. He wrote just over half of the songs on Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley, and he did a fabulous job in arranging.

Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley begins with a excellent trio of tunes that all run seamlessly together and introduce a really funky and soulful album. I find it a shame that most people know him for Addicted to Love. I'm willing to bet, also, that most people are unfamiliar with his work with Vinegar Joe, with whom he made two records in 1971 and 1972.

I have a Canadian pressing of this record.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark/OMD: Souvenir, the Sigles Collection, 1979 - 2019 (2019)

This triple LP release compiles OMD forty singles from 1979 - 2019. From a Discogs comment:

"Completists take note and rejoice! Track 3, Messages, is the (relatively) rare 7" remix, and not the Lp version. It is a short version of the 10" remix that appears almost everywhere else. This is the first time that this version of this track has appeared on cd, I believe."

While the vinyl set contains one new track (Don't Go), the deluxe CD box set has a lot more material, including a bunch of unreleased tracks. This is a cool compilation.

Friday, December 06, 2019

OMD [Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark]: Live With The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (2018)

The triple LP version was released on clear vinyl and includes tunes recorded in Liverpool on October 6th and 7th, 2018. Some of the reviews were harsh, but, overall, I alike this effort. Stanlow is a triumph on its own, though the audience ruined the end of the track by breaking into applause way too soon.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark [OMD]: What Have we Done (2017)

Of course, the title should really be What Have We Done? What happened to proper punctuation? The three tracks on this 12" are:

What Have We Done (12" Extended Mix)
What Have We Done (Single Version)

This is a good track. It makes me wish that Paul would sing more.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark [OMD]: The Punishment Of Luxury (2017)

This 12"single contains the following:

The Punishment Of Luxury (12" Extended Mix)
Lampe Licht
The Punishment Of Luxury (Single Version)

This release was limited to 1000 copies. There are currently copies for sale on Discogs, starting at about $41.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark [OMD]: The Punishment Of Luxury (2017)

Allmusic awards this record 3.5 stars, which I think is too parsimonious. It's far better than that, even if simply because of Isotype, which is a great single. I thin the previous two records were better, but this is pretty darn good.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

OMD [Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark]: Architecture & Morality / Dazzle Ships 05.16 Royal Albert Hall (2016)

I have no idea what the proper title of this record is. 

From Discogs:

"Limited to 1,000 copies via Pledge Music in three panel gatefold sleeve of the OMD concert held at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 9th May 2016."

The above explains why the prices on Discogs start at £60 and run up to £99.95! The triple LP was bundled with 2 CD-Rs, which were also released separately. That's right! Bizarrely, these are CD-Rs, not CDs. Why? And yet, these CD-Rs are pricey too.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark [OMD]: Access All Areas (2015)

The following is taken from a comment on this item on Discogs:
Unearthed live recording from the ITV archives. To be precise, this concert was recorded at the Nottingham Playhouse, UK on 28th July 1980, for ITV's Rockstage programme (aired in April 1981). It was a rare one-off summer show and they played two songs from the yet to be recorded album 'Organisation'. This is the first time that the original 'Enola Gay' (unfinished) version is released. Notice the absence of the drum machine, its slightly different structure and original verses. Then, despite the short set, the quality of the recording is surprisingly good. Lighting was less gloomy than the classic Theatre Royal Drury Lane 1981 concert. 
The CD/DVD version was released in 2015, with a CD version and LP version appearing the following year. The LP is, of course, a picture disc. Access All Areas refers to a unlimited backstage pass, also known as AAA. Access all Areas is also the name of a series of recordings from various acts.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark [OMD] ‎– Julia's Song (Dub Version) (2015)

From Discogs: Released on Record Store Day 2015.
'Julia's Song (Dub Version)' is the same track as the first part of 'Julia's Song (Extended Version)', b-side to the 1984 Talking Loud And Clear 12" single, the second part of which has been released on the 2015 Deluxe edition of Junk Culture. 
I believe that this was a limited edition, but I am not sure. The flipside is 10-1.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The National: I Am Easy To Find (2019)

First, the good news: when this LP was released, most local stores were selling it for $39.99, though I did see it for $35.99 a couple of times. I didn't buy a copy, because I was not thrilled with what I heard. Yesterday, a local store had a bunch of the clear vinyl editions for $24.99, so I bought it. After all, The National is one of my favourite bands.

And now, the bad news: what happened? What happened to The National? Maybe it needs a few more listens, but on my first pass through, all I could think was that I was happy not to have shelled out $80 for the triple LP version. There are some songs that I genuinely dislike on this record. Where is Her Head comes to mind first. I do not dislike female backing singers of female vocalists, but there are parts of this record where I wondered if I was listening to a Boney M record.

I will give it another chance, but I am feeling underwhelmed. 

OMD [Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark]: Dazzle Ships At The Museum Of Liverpool

Discogs treats this release as an EP, which I think is odd because it contains seven tracks:

Radio Waves
Genetic Engineering
Dazzle Ships (Parts II, III & VII)
The Romance Of The Telescope
Dazzle Ships (Parts I, IV, V & VI)

There are apparently 750 copies, but someone noted that more copies were made to correct for errors. All I can say that is: I wish I had been there.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark [OMD]: English Electric (2015)

Who would have thought that the year 2015 would bring one of OMD's best records? I am still stunned by how good this record is. It pays overt respect to Dazzle Ships and it also has a good deal of glossy electronic pop that would appeal to any OMD fan.

Night Cafe, on it's own, is magical, a return to some Architecture and Morality sounds, with a beautiful melody and polished electronic sound. My fav tune might be Metroland, which is a delicious Kraftwerkesque tune. On the other hand, Dresden is also pretty cool.

The question about Kissing the Machine is which is the better version, this or the 1993-original with Karl Bartos. It's a tough call, as they are so similar. This is an excellent record, which is a bit better the History of Modern.