Vol 4 (1972) by Black Sabbath

Categories: 1972 and Music.

Round about the time the piano opens “Changes,” we start wondering what is going on. Prior to this moment (or, perhaps, prior to “The Straightener”), Black Sabbath was the heaviest band in the entire world. There was no band louder or lower than Sabbath. And then we get a piano ballad backed with a fucking mellotron. Who are they? Zeppelin?!?! Read More

Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972) by Van Morrison

Categories: 1972 and Music.

When Morrison is on he is like few other performers and songwriters – he creates this seemingly effortless blend of so many things that we never would have expected would go together and he makes it all sound organic, as if his genre-blending was the most normal (and obvious) thing in the world. Read More

All Directions (1972) by The Temptations

Categories: 1972 and Music.

I don’t know what to do with vocal groups. Most of my music-listening life I have been more impressed with the ability to play an instrument well than sing well. So when I listen to a record where the vocalists are all credited but the players aren’t really, I already get muddled, regardless of the music I’m listening to. I just don’t understand the obsession with vocals above all other things. Read More

Roxy Music (1972)

Categories: 1972 and Music.

On their debut, Roxy Music appear to have stumbled upon a unique take on art rock: it’s borderline prog at times but Ferry’s songs and croon are just way too rooted in popular music conventions (whether they subtly overturn them or not) for this to be mistaken as King Crimson or some Canterbury scene band or what have you. Read More

There It Is (1972) by James Brown

Categories: 1972 and Music.

This is the first studio album of Brown’s that wasn’t a compilation that I’ve ever heard and I have no idea what to do with it. This is Brown’s 38th studio album, which is insane. Brown’s output is just insane which is why most of us are just better off with the boxed set of singles. How does one view this record without having listening to at least some of those 37 previous records? how does one view this without a deep knowledge of where funk was in June of 1972. I don’t have the knowledge of the genre (beyond Read More

Paul Simon (1972)

Categories: 1972 and Music.

I don’t love Paul Simon as a songwriter. I have been trying and trying but, aside from a brief period in my early teens when I liked Simon and Garfunkel, I just can’t do it. He doesn’t connect with me like so many other of the great song-writers do. But I admit that this – Paul Simon’s sort of debut, sort of second record – is a varied record and its a strong set of songs for him. The things that I don’t like about it are things that I don’t like about Paul Simon and have nothing to do Read More

Mauricio Kagel (2003) by Alexandre Tharaud

Categories: 1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1984, 2003, and Music.

This collection is a little confusing in part because of the confusing nature of Rrrrrrr…, which can apparently be performed independently. The disc appears to be a compilation of his piano-based music. Calling “piano music” would be a misnomer, as there are lots of other instruments on a number of the pieces. The pieces from Rrrrrrr… are all over the place in terms of style, starting with ragtime and running the gamut of styles, through pretty traditional to really avant garde stuff (a prepared piano, a “raga”). I like how Kagel turns music on its here but here I have Read More

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

Categories: 1972 and Movies.

This adaptation of Fassbinder’s own play is rather radical in its content for a film of its era – the story of an ageing fashion designer who falls in love with another woman. Its all female cast is also rather unique to my knowledge. Fassbinder manages by some miracle (really, his typically inventive camera work) to make the film not feel like a play, despite the fact that all the dialogue takes place inside one room. It’s a rather incredible display of his technique. As with a number of Fassbinder’s films, I find myself so in awe of his ability Read More

Facing You (1972) by Keith Jarrett

Categories: 1972 and Music.

I don’t know if this is Jarrett’s first “spontaneously composed” solo piano record, but it sure sounds like it to my ears (even though it’s not live). Putting aside Jarrett’s claims about his process, I’ve always found his solo piano recordings of this type to be rather incredible. He manages to skirt between extremely inventive playing and simple, easy melodies (some that sound piratically new-agey or, in the case of the opening track, that sound stolen from a Christmas Carol). If Jarrett wasn’t so damned talented, this would be a bad thing. But he is such a creative, beautiful player Read More

Miserere et. al (1994) by Henryk Gorecki, performed by John Nelson et al.

Categories: 1994 and Music.

This is a collection of Gorecki’s choral music, mostly performed by choruses from Chicago. (Yet another release where the performers differ from track to track! I really need to get over this.) Fortunately, I wouldn’t have known that, if they didn’t tell me. So that’s something. The “Miserere” is an incredible piece of music. I know choral music a lot less well than I know concertos, string quartets or piano sonatas, for example (so that means I really don’t know them), but this feels massively significant – in addition to it being greatly affecting – even without knowing the structure, Read More

Trilogy (1972) by Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Categories: 1972 and Music.

Having just suffered through some of their late ’70s crap, it’s nice to hear them back in the day when they were still making interesting music. Always over the top, at least this stuff is also provocative. “The Endless Enigma” is almost a classic. It’s too bad the vocal sections are so weak compared to the rest of the composition. And “From the Beginning” is a Lake song I actually don’t hate, so that’s another big positive. On the whole there is a lot to like here with their characteristic unevenness – there seem to me to be very few Read More

Lucia di Lammermoor (1972, 1999) by Gaetano Donizetti, performed by Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes, Chiarov, Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Convent Gardens conducted by Bonynge

Categories: 1972 and Music.

So, as with any opera I have never heard before, I am stuck reviewing the opera more than the performance. I have no idea if this is a great performance of this opera, though I suspect it is (after all we have Sutherland and Pavarotti). The opera itself is a little over the top – well it is really over the top. And unlike other operas that are this over the top, I find not all that much of interest here. That being said, it’s hard to ignore, so that is certainly something. And it is less deliberately populist than Read More

The 50th Anniversary Collection by James Brown (Polydor 2003)

Categories: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, and Music.

James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression and how he turned gritty soul and R and B into funk and thus got sampled more than any other band leader ever. The one downside is that this compilation of his hit singles is missing one of his biggest hits. Hard to understand that Read More