Thursday, April 28, 2016

Godley + Creme: Ismism (1981)

In this case, I will disagree with Mark Allan over at Allmusic, who wrote:

"Prone to pretension, these two English Frank Zappas revel in outright silliness on much of this album, which was also released as Snack Attack. The mix puts their voices higher than usual, highlighting some truly bent tales of munchy madness, desert skullduggery, and JFK assassins. For contrast, there's the gorgeous "Wedding Bells," a rare AM hit for the former 10cc mates. Throughout all of this, you get the nagging feeling this pair was capable of so much more." [source]

Snack Attack, on its own, makes this a five star record. Who cares about the other tracks?

"I feel like Kojak sitting in a Cadillac
I gotta eat, I gotta eat a Flapjack
a stack, a rack, a six-pack Jack
just call me Jack Kerouac
click-clack open up the hatchback
I could eat a Bubble car or a packamack
pattacake, pattacake Big Mac
good God it's a snack attack"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lol Creme & Kevin Godley (AKA Godley & Creme]: L (1978)

Godley & Creme's 3rd record, after leaving 10cc, is entitled L. I often wonder what inspires a band or singer to choose a title like that. In the internet age, it is difficult to search. Also, consider the anaemic New Zealand band called No. That is simply a dumb name. In any case, Mark Allan at Allmusic said this, and it hard to completely disagree with:

"Together, these two multi-instrumentalist studio freaks were the British Frank Zappa. Overwhelmed by their own cleverness, they often wasted brilliant production and gorgeous vocal harmonies on trite material. The title of this album and a song called "Sandwiches of You" offer a hint of the problem. It's impossible to feel any emotional attachment to the material because of a sense that everything these guys do is tongue in cheek. This is a thoroughly forgettable outing by two chaps capable of much more." [source]

Still, there are some interesting elements in the mix. I also love the minimalist jacket design, even though the title of the record leaves much to be desired.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Goddo: Pretty Bad Boys (1981)

Pretty Bad Boys contained a genuine big hit, the singular of the LP name: Pretty Bad Boy. I think it was a big hit, or maybe it was just locally popular. Who knows?  

Hey you good lookin' 
In the very front row
You're the kind of sweet thing
That I'd like to know
Maybe we could make eyes
After the show
Your can have it fast
You can have it slow
I guess you've figured out
What's on my Mind
After the gig
We could have a real good time
You show me yours
I'll show you mine
Bring a willing girlfriend
She can be next in line 
I'm just a pretty bad boy
I'm just a pretty bad boy
Pretty bad boys need pretty bad
pretty girls too
Ya' know what
We could go to my place if you're so inclined
Got rugs , beds, showers, lubricants
And things that bind

I ain't no Mike Mandel 
But I can read your mind
Just your eyes are screamin'

Although I have never seen Goodo live in concert, I have seen Mike Mandel perform. As I mentioned earlier, I always thought that this was the end of the line for Goddo, but the band released a CD in 1992, In 2001, they released an anniversary edition of the live record. A CD of new material was released in 2003. There was a compilation in 2008 and a new live record in 2013. I haven't heard any of that stuff.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Goddo: Lighve: Best Seat in the House (1981)

The cover and title are perhaps a tad misogynistic, but it was the early 1980s. I guess we can forgive them for that. This is a really solid double live (or lighve) record. Here's more from the CITY TV broadcast. Goddo records are not hard to find, and they should be priced at under $10 each.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Goddo: An Act of Goddo (1979)

This record is probably as good as the first record, but maybe not quite as good as the second. It sounds like a Goddo record, with lots of big sounds and solos. The most well known track on this record is the infectious So Walk On.

Here's a clip some youtuber has posted from that CITY TV and CHUM FM simulcast I mentioned earlier. You get a good sense of what these guys were all about. They should have been more famous.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goddo: Who Cares (1978)

This record is entitled Who Cares, I guess. If you read all of the text on the cover, the real title might be:  If Indeed It's Lonely At The Top WHO CARES It's Lonely At The Bottom Too! I mean, that's what is printed on the jacket, but others just refer to it simply as Who Cares, without a question mark.

Once again, it was released only in Canada. I suppose it can be hard to make it in the music business if your records aren't being released in the USA.

I'd argue that this record is better than the first. So many bands or singers have a hard time with the second record, but not in this case. Cock On is probably the most recognizable track. I also really like Sweet Thing and Oh Carole (Kiss My Whip), a sexual tribute to Carole Pope of Rough Trade. Oddly (and this will come up much later), Carole Pope was apparently the world's first openly-lesbian singer, so it's odd that Godovitz would sing about her in a very heterosexual way. But, as a adolescent, she did something for me, but more on that later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Goddo: Goddo (1977)

If you were asked to name a Canadian power trio, you would probably come up with Rush, or maybe even Triumph, before Goddo. There's nothing wrong with that. Rush is far better known. On the other hand, Goddo was relatively unknown, especially outside of Canada, and that's too bad.

I was surprised to learn that Goddo had any history after the early 1980s, According to the band's webpage, they were around longer: In 1983, "[a]fter years of touring, the band collapsed under the weight of its own excesses and debt. A five piece reconfiguration called GODO later emerged with Godovitz leading the brigade through the mid-80s." The band released some stuff in the 90s and  2000s. I had no idea and I haven't heard any of it.

The band took its name from front-man Greg Godovitz. I was never sure if this was a good name or not, but after a while, one loses the ability to judge a name that one has gotten used to. Just think of all the crazy band names that we have become accustomed to. You know, like Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel or the Dead Kennedy's.

I have a particularly strong memory of watching a Goddo concert on one of those CITY TV and CHUM FM simulcasts. I also watched Rough Trade and Max Webster, and I think others. Since it was difficult to see many concerts in my small hometown, this was really cool. The instructions were to place your stereo speakers on either side of your TV. The music was then broadcast in stereo over 104.5 CHUM FM and the video from CITY TV, which I think was channel 79 at the time. So, you just had to turn up the stereo and turn down the TV, and you were set. But, in our case, we had one of those stereo cabinets, so the speakers could not be moved without great difficulty. Still, it worked well enough.

Anyway, the first record is a solid rock LP. It has some classic Goddo tunes like Under My Hat, The Bus Driver Blues, Drive me Crazy, etc.

As far as I know, this record was released only in Canada, first on LP and later on CD.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Glove: Blue Sunshine (1983)

Steven Severin (of Siouxsie and the Banshees) joined up with Robert Smith (of the Cure) and vocalist Jeanette Landray. As a big fan of both the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, I had to have this.
Landray sings all but two of the tracks, something I didn't realize when I purchased the record. The Glove recorded one LP only, Blue Sunshine. For some reason, this album didn't make a big mark and it seems to have faded into obscurity, but It was re-released on heavyweight vinyl in 2013. I have the first UK pressing. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Philip Glass: Songs From Liquid Days (1986)

I have a large collection of Philip Glass CDs, but not much on vinyl. This record is a strange electronic, classical pop record. The list of collaborators is long and interesting, and includes: Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, The Kronos Quartet, Linda Ronstadt, The Roches, David Byrne, and Laurie Anderson. If you like Mr. Glass, you will probably like this. If not, it might be a listening challenge.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

David Gilmour: David Gilmour (1978)

This is David Gilmour's first solo LP, released in 1978. I guess he has some time between Animals and The Wall to get this record together. Regarding the former, Allmusic makes this truly bizarre statement: "Certainly it's much more approachable than Animals, released earlier that year..." [source] I disagree, Animals is magnificent. This record is OK, pleasant even, but it is not in the same league as Animals.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Genesis: Invisible Touch (1986)

It's easy to see why some people feel that this record is really a Phil Collins solo record masquerading as a Genesis record. I have to say that this is the weakest of the Genesis records, though I have never heard We Can't Dance or ...Calling All Stations. On the other other hand, there are still some interesting Genesis moments, like part 2 of Domino. I'll also admit to liking Land of Confusion, which is a political song. That might have been a first for the band. I don't hate Tonight, Tonight, Tonight or The Brazilian, which is something.

However, the title track, Invisible Touch, is really insipid as is In Too Deep and Throwing it All Away. For me, this was the end of the line for Genesis.

This record was 6x platinum in the US. How can that be? Well, my sister's ex-boyfriend bought a copy at full price. I paid $1 for my copy.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Genesis: Mama (1983)

The flipside to Mama (Long Version) on this Canadian 12" single is It's Gonna Get Better (Long Version). No one needs a long version of that track. The long version of Mama is not bad, though.

Genesis: Genesis (1983)

Back in high school, some of my friends were absolutely enamoured with the track Mama. In fact, at a school dance, they tried to get as many people as possible to request that the DJ play that song. The replied by saying that no one would dance to it. But, after a couple of dozen requests, the DJ relented.

To me, this is a schizophrenic record. It has some really commercial moments, like That's All, which really is a nice snappy little tune. Illegal Alien is simply offensive to any Genesis fan. And, if I were Mexican, I think I would be pissed off at the moustaches, the references to tequila, and the hangover. In other words, it brings in a whole bunch of Mexican stereotypes. What's worse is that Phil Collins sings in a pseudo-Mexican accent. This is a case where the band seems to have lost its way. I suppose one might be able to argue that while the track might come across as racist, that may not have been the intent, but the execution is definitely problematic. In any case, I think it's a lesser Genesis song.

I am also not a fan of Takin' It All Too Hard or It's Gonna Get Better. They are rather anaemic. Just a Job to Do is OK but not great. On the plus side, there are some good moments, like Silver Rainbow, Home by the Sea and Second Home by the Sea. And, I don't mind Mama.

But, back to the school dance. No one danced to that song when the DJ finally put on the record. I mean, how could you? The DJ abandoned the track less than halfway through and put on some unmemorable top 40 track that I cannot remember.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Genesis: Three Sides Live (1982)

Three Sides Live is a confusing record because some versions, or so I have read, have four live sides and should have been called Four Sides Live. In Canada, it was released with three lives sides, with side four devoted to collecting miscellaneous studio tracks that appeared here and there. For me, the best of these is Paperlate. The rest of side four leaves me almost cold.

I enjoy the live versions from this period with this lineup and I guess that this is a good representation, but I have never seen any version of Genesis live, so I can't be sure. Evidently, there is a DVD, but I haven't seen it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Genesis: Abacab (1981)

I watched an interview with the members of Genesis and they all said that there was a conscious effort to break with the past, and to move away from the tried and true Genesis sound to something different. In other words, don't blame Phil Collins if you do not like this record.

This is a great record, with the possible exception of Who Dunnit? I'm still not sure if I like that track and I honestly thought that it would make a better instrumental. Or, perhaps I simply misunderstand the song. I had planned to totally dis that track, but I played the record recently, and my one 1 & 1/2  year old started grooving to that track, so it can't be as bad as I think.

The title track, Keep it Dark, No Reply At All, Dodo etc, are all excellent. The low point for me is Like it or Not. I don't.

This is another album that has strong memories for me. My friend, Bruce, obtained a copy of this record before me, and he used to blast it in residence on his weird linear turntable and Bose speakers. It was loud. But, I never loved the sound of Bose speakers. Maybe they sound better now.

Speaking of Bruce, he borrowed a couple of records and never gave them back. Perhaps he lost them. I demanded replacements, but that never happened.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Genesis: Duke (1980)

I recall reading some kind of online discussion or thread in which Genesis fans were arguing about what is the last great Genesis record. Duke was offered as a suggestion by several people. In my humble opinion, Duke is indeed the last great Genesis record, though I would argue that there are a few good tracks later on, though I draw the line at the Ray Wilson years. Nothing the band released after Duke was nearly as good.

I watched an interview with Phil Collins in which he said that he would not accept the credit or the blame for the more pop-oriented direction that the band took in the 1980s. I think that's a fair enough statement, considering that there were two other band members, and I can't believe that Phil had total control over the band's musical direction.

Duke contains two of Genesis's most commercial (up to that point) pop songs: Misunderstanding and Turn it on Again. Yes, they are pop songs, but they are good ones. The album also has some great progressive moments, like Between the Lines, Duke's Travels, and Duke's End. There is some fabulous musicianship and some especially fine drumming, for all of you Phil Collins haters.

Despite the commercial feel of a couple of songs, this is a complicated record. Let's take Turn it on Again as an example. This is is 13/8! How many pop songs are in that time signature?

I would rate Duke as one of my favourite Genesis records. For years, I had the Duke poster hanging in my bedroom.

I got a copy for Christmas the year it came out and I remember putting it on while family members were still unwrapping gifts. We had an old stereo cabinet with a turntable that probably had a ceramic stylus. When Between the Lines started, my sister's boyfriend looked at me like I had put on the most irritating music in the world. I think he begged me to take it off. Years later, I noted that he bought a copy of Invisible Touch. You just cannot trust the older generation (and he was 15 years older than me).

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Genesis: ...And Then There Were Three (1978)

...And Then There Were Three, so named because of the departure of Steve Hackett, contains a genuine hit single, the first real pop hit from the band. One could probably make the argument that the band was moving into a new phase. After having watched the Genesis interviews that coincided with the box sets releases, it's clear that Phil Collin was not the single motivating factor for the sounds that followed. It's clear that this was a band decision, so all of the people who blame Phil should get a little education.

For me, although it was the band's biggest hit, Follow You Follow Me is the best song on the album. 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Genesis: Seconds Out (1977)

Seconds Out is the second live record from Genesis. Since Phil had assumed vocals duties, the band needed someone to take over drums for live shows. So, this record features the drumming of Chester Thompson and Bill Bruford--one of my favourite drummers. Bill Bruford, apart from his own solo efforts, has been part of Genesis (briefly), Yes, and King Crimson. Chester Thompson was Genesis's touring drummer for 30 years. He also played with Frank Zappa and others.

I think this is a great document of Genesis live in the late 70s, for all of us too young to have seen them on stage. I recently saw the When in Rome DVD and I have to say that it is pretty darned good too.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Genesis: Spot the Pigeon (1977)

Steve Hackett left the band after Wind and Wuthering, but he appears here on these leftovers from that record. This EP was released on blue and black vinyl. I have the black vinyl version, which some people will tell you is rarer than the blue version, but I am not convinced. When I looked up the record on Wikipedia, I learned something that I had never known. Apparently, the band disliked the track Match of the Day. Phil said this:

"It was also not our finest hour looking back at it now!!! I wrote the embarrassing lyrics and the track featured an attempt to bring some of the hipper grooves of the day into Genesis, with very suspect results." It does sound like an effort to write a song for a football league, or some such thing. This EP is not top shelf Genesis. Allmusic is right here:

"Spot the Pigeon has never been a popular or even very accessible release in the U.S. Of course, there's a reason for this: It simply isn't very exciting. As a result, it's never been in high demand." [source]

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Genesis: Wind and Wuthering (1976)

Wind and Wuthering is the final Genesis record to feature Steve Hackett. And, so another Genesis era comes to an end. This is a solid record, though this is one that didn't get that many repeated spins from me. I think it's probably an underrated record from Genesis, and maybe I should listen to it more frequently.

I never really warmed to Your Own Special Way. It seems a bit too saccharin or something. Eleventh Earl of Mar, Wot Gorilla, and ...In That Quiet Earth are all really solid pieces. I'm not sold on Blood on the Rooftops or Unique Slumber for the Sleepers.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Genesis: A Trick of the Tail (1976)

...And then there were four. Peter Gabriel left Genesis after The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and struck out on a solo career. There has been lots written about the band's efforts to find a replacement for Peter Gabriel, with the band ending up with one of their own--Phil Collins--assuming the lead vocal duties. That turned out to have been a great choice. I have read that Phil did not want the job and had to be convinced. There are also those knucklehead conspiracy theorists who believe that Phil pushed out Peter, but they have both said that is not true.

When this record was released, I had never heard of Genesis and had probably had never heard any songs by the band. Later, many years ago, someone lent me copies of Selling England by the Pound and A Trick of the Tail. By this time, I knew that Peter Gabriel had been the vocalist in Genesis and I knew that he had left. What I didn't know was when that had happened. And so, I assumed that the singer on both records was Peter Gabriel. I was surprised when I found out that Phil Collins was singing on A Trick of the Tail. There voices were so similar or maybe it was that their voices both suited the kind of music that Genesis was writing.

I love this record. It's brilliant from start to finish. 

Friday, April 01, 2016

Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

This sprawling double LP was the last to feature Peter Gabriel. After seven records with Genesis, he opted to try something else. This all happened well before my awareness of Genesis or Peter Gabriel commenced, so I was not upset that he departed :)

"In every way, it's a considerable, lasting achievement and it's little wonder that Peter Gabriel had to leave the band after this record: they had gone as far as they could go together, and could never top this extraordinary album." [source]

I think that's probably correct, though there are certain things that I do not like about the record. As I have already mentioned, Selling England by the Pound is probably my favourite Genesis record. I might even choose A Trick of the Tail as my second favourite. But, this record is amazing in all kinds of ways, even though it is difficult to know what it's really all about. There are some really great tracks on this record.

I suppose the most recognizable tracks are the title track, Carpet Crawlers, and maybe Fly on a Windshield. I wonder why that wasn't called Fly on a Windscreen? But, the record is packed with greatness, so take your pick.