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

Echo & The Bunnymen: It's All Live Now (2017)

It's All Live Now is an interesting record. It consists of mostly cover versions, with only two Echo originals. The are Crocodiles and Do it Clean. I have to say that the band chose the cover tunes very well. We get Paint it Black (Stones), She Cracked (Modern Lovers), Run Run Run and Heroin (Velvet Underground), Friction (Television), and more. The recording is very good. Here are some of the notes from Discogs:

"This is a limited release of 2987 copies.

Single sleeve tip-on UV-laminated Stoughton jacket with a printed insert that includes liner notes by Will Sergeant

Tracks A1-A2 recorded live in Sweden (no venue or other details given).
Tracks A3-B2 recorded live at Karen, Gothenberg, Sweden for The Bommen Show on 25 April 1985.
Tracks B4 & B5 recorded live at The Royal Albert Hall on 19 July 1983.

All tracks previously released on the 2001 Echo & The Bunnymen - Crystal Days 1979 - 1999 box set."

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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Duran Duran: Duran Duran (1981)

Punk or punk/new wave is often used to describe this band, but I would say they were primarily new wave or new romantic, but with a top 40 feel. In other words, they were in no way a college rock band, at least to me. But, sometimes, labels are difficult to get right.

Back in the day, I was more interested in music that was a little stranger and less commercial, and I can say that I was not a fan when Duran2 burst onto the scene. I thought they had some OK songs, but I never bought any of their records new. Instead, I picked up everything I own for very very cheap here and there. I never paid more than $2 for any of them.

Duran Duran made the most of music videos and sex. Just have a look at the uncensored version of Girls on Film, especially the last minute, or so.  It was an adolescent's dream, though hard to see at the time. You should be able to view it here or here or here. It's definitely NSFW.

The Canadian pressing of the debut record from Duran Duran differs from the original UK pressing. I just cannot understand why record companies mess around with releases in different markets. Instead of To the Shore, Planet Earth was used as the lead off track. There are other differences that I can't be bothered describing.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dumptruck: For the Country (1987)

Dumptruck is (was is probably more accurate) a band from Boston. For the Country is the third record from the band. I have to admit that I know very little about them. I think this is a record that I acquired for very little money, though I can't remember. I certainly did not buy it new. I suppose you might call this band college rock or 80s indie rock. They probably should have been more famous.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Dukes Of Stratosphear: Psonic Psunspot (1987)

My copy of Psonic Psunspot is a UK import on purplish marbled vinyl. It was released in a limited edition of 5000 copies. You would probably have to pay $35+ to get a copy of this record today. I would have been much happier if the "limited edition coloured vinyl" label had been placed on the shrink wrap rather than directly on the jacket, but you can't have everything.

Psonic Psunspot is simply fantastic. Sometimes, I think the Dukes were better than XTC, and it's too bad that they only released two records.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Dukes Of Stratosphear: 25 O'Clock (1985)

The Dukes Of Stratosphear was an XTC psychedelic side-project. 25 O'Clock was the first release, a mini-album (or EP) of six amazing tracks. By the way, I have the compilation CD Chips from the Chocolate Fireball: An Anthology, which includes tracks from the first and second Dukes record. 25 O'Clock is truly awesome. Allmusic's review is bang on, and I agree with everything they said. I have seen copies of this record recently for around $25.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dream Warriors: Ludi (1991)

I can't remember when or where I picked up this UK 12" for Ludi by King Lou and Capital Q. It's a pretty good track.

Ludi (Double Trouble Alternative Mix)
Ludi (Drop Out Mix)
Very Easy To Assemble But Hard To Take Apart (Generation Gap Mix)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dream Warriors: And Now the Legacy Begins (1991)

This is another record from the era when vinyl was "dead." And, it's a good one. Allmusic starts its review with an incomplete sentence:

"Part of the slew of grand early-'90s hip-hop releases that avoided tough criminal posing for inventive, witty lyrics and arrangements, And Now the Legacy Begins is a hilarious, entertaining rollercoaster of a record. That the Warriors themselves were Canadian shows that north of the US border isn't all Rush tribute bands, as the duo plays around with any number of inspired samples and grooves, from jazz to harder-edged beats, with style and skill."

I guess I can agree with that, though the comment about Rush tribute bands is rather insulting to all of the great Canadian bands and singers (like: Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, The Guess Who, Tragically Hip, Black Mountain, Plants and Animals, Japandroids, Do Make Say Think, Teenage Head, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Rheostatics, Wolf Parade, Metric, Broken Social Scene, Sloan, The Band, Arcade Fire, Blue Rodeo, Daniel Lanois, Cowboy Junkies, Ron Sexsmith, Rufus Wainwright, the list goes on and on). I wonder if that was mere ignorance or an attempt at humour. If they wanted a real dig, they should have mentioned Nickleback, perhaps the worst Canadian band of all time.

Anyway, this is an import from Europe. My understanding is that this record was never released on vinyl in Canada.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dream Warriors: My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style (1991)

Growing up in Canada in a certain era meant that you knew the TV show Definition. If you are of a later vintage, you know Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. In both cases, a debt is owed to Quincy Jones for Soul Bossa Nova, which was used as the theme in both. The Dream Warriors, a Canadian jazzy hip hop group, heavily sampled this tune for My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style. I think it's no coincidence that they employed the word Definition, as an homage to that TV show. I am sure that Mike Myers was also aware of the history of this track from a Canadian's perspective. I wonder if Jim Perry ever heard this song.

Oddly, this pressing is a US pressing. I've never seen a Canadian pressing. Here are the tracks on the 12" single:

My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style (Soul Bossanova Mix)
My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style (Echo Mix)
My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style (Empty Mix)
U Never Know A Good Thing Till U Lose It

If you look closely, you will see a cameo in the video from Maestro Fresh Wes.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Hold Steady: Boys and Girls in America (2006)

Boys and Girls in America was something of a breakthrough album for the Hold Steady, I think. It seems to be the first time many people heard the band for the first time. It's no wonder, since this is another truly stellar record, right up among my fav THS records (though I have a slight preference for Separation Sunday).

Has it really been ten years since this came out? Wow.

On this record, Craig drops a few more names, like Sal Paradise, John Berryman, Izzy Stradlin, Tennyson, Judas, the Devil, and Jesus. A few regulars (Charlemagne, Gideon, and Holly) show up. There are a whole bevy of great tuners, all seemingly radio-friendly, but the radio is garbage these days.

I finally got a copy on vinyl, the deluxe edition, reissued on two LPs. It includes four b-sides and six demos. It's awesome to have this on vinyl, though I still have no idea why any fan would want demos of anything from any band. I have various CDs with bonus demo tracks and they are all generally underwhelming. The best of the b-sides is probably Girls Like Status.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Drastic Measures: Drastic Measures (1980)

It's somewhat sad that the best-known track from this record is the cover version of Teddy Bears' Picnic. There are better tracks on the record, but I guess this one caught on. Nash the Slash makes an appearance on this record, which is noteworthy.

If you visit Tony Malone's website, you can stream tracks from this record.

I think that Drastic Measures released only one record. That's too bad.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Dr. John: The Sun, the Moon & Herbs (1971)

I have to admit that I know very little about Dr. John (just what I read on Wikipedia and elsewhere). But, first things first: I would have written it as The Sun, the Moon, & Herbs. It's a pretty interesting record. If you read the credits, you will find a few familiar names, like Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. Check out this weird track:

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show [Dr. Hook]: The Best of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show (1976)

By 1975, Dr. Hook dropped the longer name -- Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show -- and went ahead with the shorter name of Dr. Hook. I think that the longer name was better. After all, once they dropped the longer name, the music they made rapidly veered toward the unlistenable. Sometimes You Win, the last record I am familiar with (I use.d to own a copy), was a crime against humanity, despite what the reviewer at Allmusic says

One Christmas season, I picked up a copy of a Dr. Hook record (I can't remember which record) to give to my sister. Oddly, I found it on a rack of records in a local hardware store. We had no record shop at that time, but some stores had a very small collection. I had heard the track Only Sixteen, on the radio, but I had no idea if my sister liked it. It turns out that she loved the record. Later, she went mad, collecting every record from the band she could find. We ever wrote a letter to the Dr. Hook fan club.

Anyway, she gave all of her records away one year, without telling me, including every record that Dr. Hook ever released. I found an excellent copy of this one in a thrift shop years later, and brought it home. I am not a huge fan, but I guess the record brings back some memories. I am not sure that the music has aged well.

My dad was obviously a bit mystified by the band. I think he liked the mellower songs, like Only Sixteen and Sylvia's Mother. I recall him asking, somewhat incredulously, why they couldn't sing more songs like those, and not these other weird tunes, like Penicillin Penny and Freakin' at the Freakers Ball? I guess they liked to mix it up. Personally, I preferred the wordier stuff. In truth, if I ever saw other early Dr. Hoo record for cheap, like, say a dollar, I might be tested to buy them.

Some copies of this record carry the additional title of Revisited.

The Doors: Full Circle (1972)

Full Circle is the 8th Doors record and the second released after the death of Jim Morrison. By the way, we visited Morrison's grave in the Père Lachaise Cemetery when we were in France in 2009. It is a rather unimpressive grave, but it was interesting to see. It might sound disrespectful when I say that The Doors were Jim Morrison, but that's sort of the way I feel. Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore are certainly talented musicians, but Jim was larger than life to many people. I guess we should give the band props for trying to keep it going.

Although I think the record got fairly good reviews, it doesn't really do that much for me. Verdilac is a memorable track, but the rest doesn't really do anything for me. Also, the album cover is wacky.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Doors: The Soft Parade (1969)

This is the original Canadian gatefold release of The Soft Parade, the fourth album from The Doors. The track everyone knows from this record is Touch Me. I ignored The Doors for most of my life. I listened to my share of classic rock radio, and I felt saturated with the band, so much so that I never really wanted to own any. I never owned any Doors CDs. On the other hand, I thought that the use of The End in Apocalypse Now was genius.

The Soft Parade is mediocre. It has some good tunes, but I can't say it's a great record. I am sure that this was a lawn sale pickup, but I can't remember when. The cover is a little worn, but the vinyl is fine and it sounds OK.