Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dave Edmunds: Repeat When Necessary (1979)

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A good description of Dave is probably "roots rocker," or some such thing. Repeat When Necessary is a pretty good record, full of some really good cover songs, like Crawling from the Wreckage, penned by Graham Parker and Girls Talk, written by Elvis Costello. I'm not so much of a fan of Queen of Hearts because when I hear it, all I can think of is Juice Newton's version, and that is a bad thing.

I think that the record cover is a bit of a bore.

Will Butler: Policy (2015)

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So, I have to decide what to do with new records I acquire that are earlier in the alphabet. Perhaps I will post them and then move them back to the correct place. Anyway, I recently picked this up on sale at HMV. I probably would not have bought it at full price. Having listened to it a couple of times, I'd say that there are some strong tracks, but some tracks that do absolutely nothing for me.

Will Butler is a member of Arcade Fire and younger brother of Win Butler. This record does not sound like Arcade Fire, but there are a few moments that make me think about the band. For me, the strongest songs are Take my Side and Son of God But, Something's Coming also works too, perhaps because it sounds more like Arcade Fire than the rest of the record.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eddie And The Cruisers: (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1983)

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I suppose this should really be filed under John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band, rather than the title of the film, but whatever. I guess I dropped the ball on that one and broke my soundtrack rule, previously described. I've never seen the film and I was surprised to learn (just recently) that a sequel was filmed.

At the time, I seem to recall that John Cafferty was heralded as the new Bruce Springsteen. It certainly seems like the band was attempting to emulate (copy) the sound of the Boss and his band. There is even a sax. In fact, a casual listener might even be convinced that this is Bruce and Co. on Tender Years, an overt and obvious, yet weak, attempt to channel Bruce. Overall, the album is not that great, but maybe if I saw the film, I would change my mind.

Back in the day, a friend of mine (and Springsteen enthusiast) told me emphatically that this record sucked. That should be the last word.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Echo and The Bunnymen: Meteorites (2014)

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Suddenly, Echo and The Bunnymen have become Echo and The Bunnymen again after a few years as Echo & The Bunnymen.

I thought the Bunnymen were finished, but suddenly, Meteorites appeared and it turns out to be very good, though perhaps not as good as their 80s stuff. True, Ian McCulloch's voice is a little harsh on this record, but that doesn't seem to interfere with the music. Allmusic says this: "Teeming with giant string arrangements, widescreen vocal production, and songs that hark back to the glory days of Ocean Rain, the album is a mysterious, murky, impressively nostalgic affair." [source] I will have to agree.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: BBC Radio Tapes '79 - '80 (2010)

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BBC Radio Tapes '79 - '80 is an unofficial (bootleg, in other words) release with a hand silk-screened cover. It was released in 2010 on the Arkain Filloux label from Belgium. It may or may not be a limited edition.  I believe that some versions were released on coloured vinyl.

Evidently, the vinyl revival has meant a bootleg revival. So, you can expect incorrect song titles and mediocre sound quality, especially if the original copy is an MP3 from the floor of a concert or some other dubious source. Occasionally, there are great-sounding boots, and this one sounds pretty good, but it's not perfect. But, if you are a fan of the early Bunnymen, this is an essential item and you should track it down.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: People Are Strange (1988)

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This is a UK 45 RPM 12" single containing a cover of People are Strange, originally from The Doors, plus three live tracks that were recorded in Sweden in 1985. The live tracks are: Paint in Black (a cover of the Rolling Stones tune), Run, Run, Run (a cover of the Velvet Underground track, written by Lou Reed), and Friction (a cover of the Television song, written by Tom Verlaine). So, it's all cover versions.

People are Strange was used, as one can see, in the film, The Lost Boys. Oddly, I have never seen that film. I would also add that People are Strange is the best track on the film's soundtrack.


Echo & The Bunnymen: Bedbugs And Ballyhoo (1987)

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This 12" single has 5 tracks:

Bedbugs And Ballyhoo (Club Remix)
Bedbugs And Ballyhoo (LP Version)
Run, Run, Run
Paint It Black
Friction

It's good, of course.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Echo & The Bunnymen (1987)

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After releasing four albums between 1980 to 1984, I thought we had seen the last of Echo & The Bunnymen. Happily, they delivered another great record, this time self-titled, for some reason. The Game is a timeless track. Other highlights are Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Lips Like Sugar, and All in Your Mind. It's a great record. Wikipedia covers the interesting backstory about the development of the record, which is worth reading if you are a fan.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Songs To Learn & Sing (1985)

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If you want an excellent introduction to Echo & The Bunnymen, this is the record to get. It's a fabulous compilation of all of the band's singles up to 1985. It contains a new single, the aforementioned Bring on the Dancing Horses. Of course, owning this record will cause you to buy more records by the band because when you hear it, you will want to hear the album tracks.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Bring On The Dancing Horses b/w Bring On The Dancing Horses (Extended Mix) & Over Your Shoulder (1985)

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Bring On The Dancing Horses might be be the most recognizable song ever released by Echo and the Bunnymen. This might partly be because the song was used on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, which is a film I actually saw in the theatre back-in-the-day. It's a pretty good film and the song is very good. It was often played at the club I frequented during my undergrad. Bizarrely, I had never seen this video before now.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Silver (Tidal Wave) (1984)

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"Walked on a tidal wave
Laughed in the face of a brand new day"

Sometimes, Discogs lets you down. This is a German pressing that is not listed when last I looked. I know, I could add it...

Anyway, this 12" contains two versions of Silver (the original and the Tidal Wave version - I guess that would be called tsunami these days, but "walked on a tsunami" doesn't sound as good), and Angles and Devils. The sound is a bit wonky in this video:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Seven Seas (1984)

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This 5 track EP was released in the heart of the 1980s. 1984 was a transitional year for me, but that's probably another story. Seven Seas is an epic Echo track, presented here with four lives tracks: All You Need is Love (the Beatles tune), The Killing Moon, Stars are Stars, and Villiers Terrace.

Echo & The Bunnymen: Ocean Rain (1984)

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If you are Bunnymen fan, then you know that Ocean Rain is "the greatest record ever made."

I find it difficult to choose a favourite song, even my favourite song from one band or one record. Sometimes, the song you are listening to sounds like the best song ever recorded. So, sometimes, I think the best track from Echo & The Bunnymen is The Killing Moon. Other times, I think it is My Kingdom. Certainly, The Killing Moon is grander, more emotional, and maybe just more epic. But, My Kingdom has a certain something that I rally like.

"I chop and I change and the mystery thickens
There's blood on my hands and you want me to listen
To brawn and to brain when the truth's in the middle
Born of the grain like all good riddles

B-b-burn the skin off and climb the roof top
Thy will be done
B-b-bite the nose off and make it the most of
Your king- kingdom kingdom kingdom

You kill when you talk and the enemy weakens
Your words start to walk when you're not even speaking
If my heart is a war its soldiers are bleeding
If my heart is a war its soldiers are dead

B-b-b-burn the skin off and climb the roof top
Thy will be done
B-b-bite the nose off and make it the most of
Your king- kingdom kingdom kingdom


I've lost and I've gained and while I was thinking
You cut off my hands when I wanted to twist
If you know how to dance to Boney Maroney
He's doing the ballet on both of his wrists

B-b-b-burn the skin off and climb the roof top
Thy will be done
B-b-bite the nose off and make it the most of
Your k-k- k- k- k- kingdom, king-k- k- k- k-

B-b-b-burn the skin off and climb the roof top
And I will be done
B-b-bite the nose off and make the most of
Your king- kingdom, kingdom, kingdom

(You're a bitter malignous person)
(And the death is well overdue)
(You suck the blood that kills you)
(You kiss the hand that hates you)

(You're a bitter malignous person)
(And your death is well overdue)
(Your sucking bitter pain)"
 

Ocean Rain contains a bevy of great songs, like the two aforementioned tracks, plus Silver, Seven Seas, Nocturnal Me. I like the album cover.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: The Killing Moon b/w The Killing Moon & Do It Clean (All Night Version) (1983)

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The Killing Moon is a fantastic song, and a staple of any good night club, oh so many years ago. I have never had any idea of what the song is about, but let's have Ian clear that up for us. In an interview with The Guardian earlier this year. He said:

"I’ve always said that The Killing Moon is the greatest song ever written. I’m sure Paul Simon would be entitled say the same about Bridge Over Troubled Water, but for me The Killing Moon is more than just a song. It’s a psalm, almost hymnal. It’s about everything, from birth to death to eternity and God – whatever that is – and the eternal battle between fate and the human will. It contains the answer to the meaning of life. It’s my 'To be or not to be …'" [source]
 
I still don't know what the song means. Sadly, in the same interview, he said: "You don’t dream things like that and remember them. That’s why I’ve always half credited the lyric to God." Yikes, now there's a case of delusion thinking.

Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you'll take me
Up in your arms
Too late to beg you or cancel it
Though I know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you'll take me
Up in your arms
Too late to beg you or cancel it
Though I know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him
You give yourself to him

La la la la la

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until 
You give yourself to him

La la la la la

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

La la la la la

This is a US pressing

Echo And The Bunnymen: Echo And The Bunnymen (1983)

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In 1983, the band released this self-titled 5 track EP or mini album of some essential Bunnymen tunes:

Never Stop
Rescue
The Cutter
Back Of Love
Do It Clean (Live)

It's almost like a mini best-of compilation up to that point.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: The Cutter (1983)

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This is a UK 12" single that contains three tracks: The Cutter, Way Out And Up We Go, and
Zimbo (Live), which was recorded live at the W.O.M.A.D. Festival in July 1982.

Echo & The Bunnymen: Porcupine (1983)

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Curiously, the band altered their name by using an ampersand rather than an and. Perhaps this was a graphic design issue. In any case, it didn't affect the music. The third album is more genius. I guess the two most well-known tracks are The Cutter and Back of Love, but the album has lots of great tunes, like Gods Will be Gods, Porcupine, and Ripeness, etc. I have a Canadian pressing.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Echo And The Bunnymen: A Promise (1981)

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This is a UK 12" pressing containing A Promise b/w Broke My Neck (Long Version). I love it.

Echo and The Bunnymen: Heaven Up Here (1981)

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The second album from Echo and The Bunnymen is another gem. I agree wholeheartedly with this excerpt from Allmusic's review:

"Heaven Up Here's strength is the way in which the Bunnymen seamlessly work together to shape each song's dynamics (the tension underlying the crescendo of "Turquoise Days" being a prime example). Ian McCulloch, having found his trademark confidence, sings with soaring abandon and passion throughout the album. Similarly, Will Sergeant's guitar playing, notably freed from verse-chorus structure and pop riffs, is at its angular finest; his playing on "No Dark Things" is pure Andy Gill-esque skronk. The album's opening troika of "Show of Strength," "With a Hip," and "Over the Wall" (the latter with its jarring, direct invocation of Del Shannon's "Runaway") are particularly effective, establishing the theme of distrust and restlessness which continues throughout the album."[link]

It's difficult to choose favourites, but Show of Strength, Over the Wall, The Promise, Turquoise Days, No Dark Things, With a Hip are all awesome. I wish I had seen them in concert. I recently heard that they will be playing Riot Fest few days from now, but I think my days of all-day concert festivals are over.

Echo And The Bunnymen: Shine So Hard (1981)

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Between the first two Echo albums (actually about a month before the second album was released) came this live 4 track EP that was recorded at the Pavillion Gardens, Buxton on Jan. 17 1981. It serves as a soundtrack to the film of the same name. It contains:

Crocodiles
Zimbo
All That Jazz
Over The Wall

You can watch the entire Shine So Hard film on Youtube. It's about 31 minute long and it contains some music not on the EP, like parts or Pride and Going Up, for example. You might want to skip ahead to the actual music, at about 12:30, where the epic version of Over the Wall begins.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Echo and The Bunnymen: Crocodiles (1980)

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Echo and The Bunnymen (later known as Echo & The Bunnymen and even later as Echo and The Bunnymen) were one of my favourite 80s bands. If I were forced to make a list of my top 5 bands from that era, this band would be on that list. Needless to say, I have all of their CDs.  

Crocodiles is a very good debut. It contains Rescue, an essential track, but unless you purchased the cassette version, it lacks Do it Clean and Read It in Books. Apparently, the record company was concerned about the lyrics. How would these guys have managed in the gangsta rap era? I have combed over the lyrics to Do it Clean and just cannot understand what they thought the record company folks thought they saw. It's a bit clearer in Read it in Books, but only if you have a dirty mind.

"You know the words
Please do say it from your knees
Show some respect
Hey baby, genuflect"


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Steve Earle: Guitar Town (1986)

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Egads, a country record! Apart from Johnny Cash, I am not really a fan of country music. I heard it way too often growing up, along with fiddle music. This is one of the most countryish records I own, yet it has a bit of an edge to it, which might explain its presence in my collection. Some people refer to Earle as country-rock, which might be true, especially in later years. Some of the lyrics, like in the song Someday, resonate with me:

"There ain't a lot that you can do in this town."

That's precisely how I felt about my hometown. There was no movie theatre, no late night restaurants, very few people with ethnic backgrounds, and no culture. The entire town was backwards, conservative, in-bred, and probably racist. Predictably, though, the town had a Chinese restaurant, but I didn't know that the food was terrible until I had real Chinese food.

The only thing to do on weekends was to find a house party, which meant that many people were regularly drinking and driving. Leaving home to go to University was a relief and it provided an education in more ways than one.

"Someday I'm finally gonna let go
'Cause I know there's a better way
And I wanna know what's over that rainbow
I'm gonna get out of here someday"

The record contains My Old Friend the Blues, a really great little song. I will admit that the first time I heard that track was when it was covered by The Proclaimers, the Scottish twins who were prepared to walk for 500 miles. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Eagles: The Long Run (1979)

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To me, this record is where the Eagles hit rock bottom. Heartache Tonight is an example of how not to write a song. It contains one of the clumsiest lyrics ever penned:

"We can beat around the bushes;
we can get down to the bone
We can leave it in the parkin' lot,
but either way, there's gonna be a"

So, bone rhymes with gonna? I don't think so. And, I really don't think perfect rhymes are always needed. After all, Billy Bragg once rhymed trousers with spouses, but at least that was funny. And then there's this from Bragg:

One minute she says
She's gone to get the cat in
The next thing I know
She's mumbling in Latin

That's much better writing.

I can live with the title track, but the rest of the album is weak.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (1976)

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This Eagles record was another garage sale find from ages ago. I am not a big Eagles fan. In fact, I  am bored by most of their music. The best thing about this record is that it was released in February 1976, about 10 months prior to the Hotel California album, meaning that the insipid and ludicrous title track is not on this compilation.

In the early days, The Eagles were a country-rock outfit. Later, they morphed into a soft rock disaster. Clearly, the earlier music is far more interesting than the later output.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night (2015)

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As much as I appreciate digital downloads that come with some new vinyl pressings, I prefer the inclusion of the CD. This pressing, on 180 gram vinyl, includes the CD. I bought the whole package for under $10. Unlike some folks, I really like later Bob Dylan. Modern Times, Together Through Life, Love and Theft, parts of Tempest, etc. are all amazing.

I dropped the needle on this one a while back and my 14-year-old daughter made some sort of disparaging comment about it. She couldn't quite believe what she was hearing, and she meant it in a negative way. I gather that her opinion had more to do with the voice of the singer, rather than the production and music itself. Dylan's vocal performance is stellar. I preferred the direction he was taking on Modern Times and Together Through Life. But, it is interesting to hear his interpretation of these songs, all at one time recorded by Sinatra. In general, I like it very much, but the listening mood has to be the right one.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Bob Dylan: Slow Train Coming (1979)

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It's odd that I own a record that is overtly evangelical. I guess the born-again Dylan decided to become the unofficial voice of Jews for Jesus in the late 1970s. So, it's an odd record, to be sure. I think I can excuse Dylan for losing his mind for a while. Some of the songs, despite the delusional messages, are interesting. I guess this is a record for the devoted fans or for those seeking a spiritual awakening.

Bob Dylan: Empire Burlesque (1985)

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For a mid-80s record from an established artist, Empire Burlesque is pretty good. I wonder about the sound, from time to time, but the songs are good enough to keep me interested. It starts with the engaging Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love?), which I think is not such a bad track. Clean Cut Kid is also not too bad. I do wonder about Allmusic's final sentence of its review: "All this makes Empire Burlesque seem more transient than it actually is, since -- discounting the production -- this is as good as Dylan gets in his latter days." [source] Latter days? Are they serious? 30 years later, Mr. Dylan is still active. Also, there are far better later Dylan records than this one.

Bob Dylan: Desire (1976)

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When Dylan is on, he is really on, and this is a really good record. I know people who claim Desire to be his best record. I favour others for that title, but this really has something. I suppose the most famous song is Hurricane, his ode to Ruben "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer falsely convicted (and later exonerated) of murder, but not before he had spent 20 years in prison.

There are other great tracks here too, like Isis (a song title that would suggest a different meaning today), and Mozambique. Once again, good luck trying to find this track on the web.

Bob Dylan: Infidels (1983)

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I would argue that Infidels was Dylan's best record since Desire. Part of that might have to do with the fact that Dylan seemed to have forgetten about god for a while, and he hired a veritable guitar god -- Mark Knopfler -- for this record.

The record contains some real classics, like Jokerman, Sweetheart Like You, Neighborhood Bully, Union Sundown...

Oddly, I have a UK pressing.

Bob Dylan: Street-Legal (1978)

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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.

Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (1975)

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I'm lucky to have a near mint copy of the first US pressing of Blood on the Tracks. Did Michael Jackson steal this title and rejig it as Blood on the Dance Floor? In any case, there is a good argument to be made that this is Bob Dylan's best record. And, the Allmusic critic seems to agree with me:

"[It]'s an affecting, unbearably poignant record, not because it's a glimpse into his soul, but because the songs are remarkably clear-eyed and sentimental, lovely and melancholy at once. And, in a way, it's best that he was backed with studio musicians here, since the professional, understated backing lets the songs and emotion stand at the forefront. Dylan made albums more influential than this, but he never made one better." [source]

Here's the white-faced Bob in a live version of Tangled up in Blue. For some reason, Bob took to wearing some glam makeup, and only he knows why. Sorry, I just realized that my photo is a bit wonky.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Bob Dylan: Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964)

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Another Side of Bob Dylan, whatever that means, is a great Dylan record. In truth, I suppose the other side is the less political side. I was tempted to write that this is one of my favourite Dylan records, but I have so many favourite Dylan records, it would seem unfair to single this one out. Every song is a winner, like It Ain't Me Babe, Chimes of Freedom, I Shall be Free, Spanish Harlem Incident, etc.

This is a pristine US pressing that is still in shrink wrap.

As usual, I couldn't find any studio versions of tunes from this record on Youtube, but here is a live track:

Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

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Highway 61 Revisited was the first Dylan record I owned, and it was on CD. The whole album is genius. It's all the more interesting when I finally heard the earlier stuff, and understood how this (Along with Bringing it all Back Home) was different from his earlier more mellow stuff.

If there is any track that truly deserves the adjective epic, Like a Rolling Stone is it:

"One of the most self-righteous and eloquent indictments ever committed to wax, Like a Rolling Stone filters Bob Dylan¹s indignation for pseudo-bohemian sixties¹ scenesters through his legendary wit. If Dylan¹s first incarnation was as a protest singer, Like a Rolling Stone signals the era of Dylan as court jester/verbal assassin." [link]

(By the way, Allmusic has turned into a slow turd. Those obnoxious popup ads that show up on every single page make the site simply frustrating to use). Things better improve or I'll be seriously upset.

There are a number of unimpressive video clips on Youtube, but nothing that is good enough to post.

Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)

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The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is probably my favourite Bob Dylan record, or at least my favourite from his early protest period. It's amazing to think that he was only 21 when this record came out. This album, unlike his debut, contains all originals, and they are amazing original songs: Blowin' in the Wind, Masters of War, Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, etc. Or course, the masterpiece on the record is A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall. That song is pure genius.

From Allmusic: " It's hard to overestimate the importance of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the record that firmly established Dylan as an unparalleled songwriter, one of considerable skill, imagination, and vision" [link] I have to agree.

Bod Dylan: The Times They Are A-Changin' (1964)

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I preferred the preceding record, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, much more. Still, this is still a fine record and it contains some classics, like the title track, With God On Our Side, Ballad of Hollis Brown, etc. You can't go wrong with early Dylan records.

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan: Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid - Original Soundtrack Recording (1973)

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"...the resulting album was a beautifully simple, sometimes rough-at-the-edges and sometimes gently refined piece of country- and folk-influenced rock, devised to underscore a very serious historical film by one of the movies' great directorial stylists." [source]

This is a pretty good record, and is perhaps most notable for the track Knockin' On Heaven's Door, which was later ruined by Guns and Roses.

Bob Dylan: New Morning (1970)

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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)

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"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?