Monday, October 20, 2014

John Cale: Music for a New Society (1981)


Roll up the history books, burn the chairs
Set fire to anything, set fire to the air

It's difficult choosing favourite songs and albums, but I think my favourite John Cale record is Music for a New Society. It's a musical masterpiece. It's spare and minimal and engaging. Paris 1919 would be a close second, but I have to give this one the edge, just based on the lyrical power and the understated music. Paris 1919 is more of a pop affair, but it's great too.

In John Cale's autobiography, he wrote that he had hoped that Frank Sinatra would cover his song, (I Keep a) Close Watch. I have to agree that this would have been cool and it's too bad it never happened. I wonder of Frank even knew who John Cale was.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

John Cale: Honi Soit (1981)


Honi soit qui mal y pense

Growing up in rural Ontario meant that concert choices were slim to practically nonexistent. In fact, I can only remember one concert from any rock band in my town. I really didn't see any real concerts until I went to university. Once I moved to Toronto, the choices got even better. Finally, I saw John Cale in concert, but only once, during the Black Acetate tour.

I had heard the song Streets of Laredo many times at home. My dad was a big fan of Marty Robbins and he had lots of his records. I recall thinking that Big Iron was my favourite song at one point, but that changed later on. One has to overthrow the music of one's parents sooner or later. Cale's version of Streets of Laredo is creditable. I prefer most of the other songs on this record, but it's hard to chose a favourite.

Friday, October 17, 2014

John Cale: Sabotage/Live (1979)


And now, we come to one of my favourite musicians of all time, John Cale. He was, as many people know, a member of The Velvet Underground, along with Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, and Mo Tucker. Cale was classically trained on the piano and he also plays the viola, guitar, bass, sax, and a number of other instruments. I have more that 60 John Cale and associated CDs including his Velvet Underground period, his solo work, The Dream Syndicate, numerous soundtracks, collaborations with people like Terry Riley, Brian Eno, and Lou Reed, and several live recordings. On top of that, I have a number of recordings produced by Mr. Cale.

The Allmusic Guide really has an evocative summary of this record. The guide notes that Cale "was travelling the world in the company of a band of snot-nosed youngsters raised on hard rock, shrieking himself into a frenzy, wearing a hard hat on-stage, and writing songs like Chickenshit, a real-life tale of the time he beheaded a chicken (already dead) on-stage and threw the carcass into the crowd and his whole band quit in protest, set to the most merciless music he'd been a part of since White Light/White Heat."

That really sums up the record. The CD version, which I also have, contains four extra tracks, three of which come from the Animal Justice EP.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

David Byrne: Sounds from True Stories (1986)


Sounds from True Stories is the soundtrack to the Talking Heads film True Stories, and it's full of quirky and cool pieces of music from The Talking Heads continuum and guests. It's fantastic. Once again, I have to admit to not having seen a film for which I own the soundtrack. I guess I haven't seen as many movies as I should have.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kate Bush: Director's Cut (2011)


So, Kate Bush decided that she wanted to rework some of her songs. Although the reviews seemed to have been generally positive, I think I was too attached to the original versions and these never really struck a chord with me. It's not that I hate the songs, I just get the feeling like one sometimes gets when listening to a cover version that doesn't top the original.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kate Bush: The Big Sky (Meteorological Mix b/w Not This Time and The Morning Fog (1986)


This is Canadian 12" single contains three tracks: The Big Sky (Meteorological Mix), Not This Time, and The Morning Fog, the first of which appears on the anniversary edition on CD. The Big Sky is one of my favourite tracks from The Hounds of Love. Since there was no video for the extended mix, some intrepid Youtube user created a video using parts of The Dreaming and the original video for The Big Sky. The sync seems to be screwed up.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Kate Bush: The Houds of Love (limited edition, pink marble vinyl) (1985)


Apparently, only 800 of these pink marble vinyl records were released in Canada. My copy of the Canadian pressing still has a factory seal, so obviously, I have never played it. I picked this up in 1985 or 1986 in a record store in downtown Kitchener, though I forget the name of the store. I assume that the store is long gone. I was a regular there, because it was the only record store I knew of in the area that carried bootlegs.

You would probably have to pay $40 to $50 to get a copy of this record, which is far more than I paid.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Kate Bush: The Hounds of Love (1985)


Without question, The Hounds of Love was my favourite album of 1985. While the Smiths did release an album that year, it was not their best work, if you ask me. Only a few other albums would rival my choice for best record of 1985: New Order's Lowlife, The Waterboys' This is the Sea, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions' Easy Pieces, and Psychocandy, by the Jesus and Mary Chain. Oh, I guess I have to add Skinny Puppy to this list. Bites is an awesome record, though a little too bizarre for some people.

I own the deluxe anniversary edition of The Hounds of Love on CD, which is interesting for the bonus material. So many Kate Bush videos feature dancing. I'll admit that I am not a fan of dance.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Kate Bush: The Dreaming (1982)


I once saw Kate Bush in person in Toronto. She was doing an interview and I was holding a position outside the venue and got to see (but not hear) part of the interview through the glass. She waved from the vehicle as it drove her away after the interview. So close, but yet so far.

The Dreaming is simply fantastic from start to finish. Of course, I also have a copy on CD. I am hard pressed to choose a favourite track. Sat in Your Lap, the first track, really gets ones attention, though the video is perplexing, at least to me. But, then again, most of her videos are unusual. I am happy that I decided not to part with the vinyl when I acquired this on CD.


Monday, October 06, 2014

Kate Bush: Lionheart (1978)


Sadly, I was unable to travel to England to see Kate's return to stage. That would have been awesome. Lionheart is probably my least favourite Kate Bush Record. Well, maybe that is too hasty. The Red Shoes might give it a run for its money. Wow and Oh England my Lionheart are especially memorable, but the other songs didn't leave a big impression on me. But, I enjoy her voice so much that even her weaker albums are still great. I'd take this over the masses of top 40 garbage that is constantly being pumped out by the recording industry. I don't remember where or when I picked up this record.

Malcolm Burn: Walk, Don't Run b/w Walk Don't Run (1988)


For some reason, I have never opened this promotional 12" single. (It contains the same song on both sides). It's still sealed. I remember Malcolm from his early days with The Boy's Brigade. I think he is best known now for his work in New Orleans with Daniel Lanois and for his own production work. He has worked as a musician, producer, or co-producer for a whole host of artists, like Blue Rodeo, Bob Dylan, Midnight Oil, Emmylou Harris, Iggy Pop, Blue Peter, Patti Smith, etc.

Walk, Don't Run is a catchy tune, and I really love that he used a comma in the song title, rather than running the words together as so many others would have done.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Buggles: The Age of Plastic (1979)


I think everyone knows that the first video shown on MTV on August 1, 1981 was Video Killed the Radio Star. In Canada, no one could get MTV, so we didn't see this momentous event in the great white north. As it turns out, video did not kill the radio star; corporate radio killed the radio star, and then the internet killed the video star, turning MTV and Muchmusic into generic piles of garbage. Someone should write a song about that.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Buffalo Springfield: [Compilation] (1973)


This self-titled Buffalo Springfield collection is really awesome, and is perhaps the best compilation. I really wish my copy of this record was in better condition, 'cause mine has a few scratches that really detract from the listening experience. I think I bought this at a lawn sale years ago. I remember also buying some Traffic records and some discs from Grand Funk Railroad and Humble Pie. For some reason, I sold them all, but this.

I am a big Neil Young fan, and it's great to hear his Buffalo Springfield tunes. My uncle had sideburns like Neil's (in the video below) well past the time that they could be considered cool. Or, just maybe, he kept them long enough to be the vanguard of new cool.