The Modern Lovers (1976)

Categories: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976, and Music.

This sort of compilation of “demos” is an early punk classic that lets the rest of the world know what probably only a few people in Boston and the music industry knew. The mix of straight ahead rock music and the laconic delivery is not quite bratty enough for punk but way more in line with punk than most of the other rock music being made when it was recorded. Listening to it should prompt serious arguments among you and your friends about which punk band was the first punk band. Also, the songs are good and some are classics. Read More

Ives: The Symphonies; Orchestral Sets 1 and 2 (2000) by Various Artists

Categories: 1901, 1902, 1910, 1911, 1916, 1919, 1929, 1973, 1976, 1994, 1995, 2000, and Music.

This is one of those Decca compilations that takes recordings from all over its catalogue (in this case from the mid ’70s and the mid ’90s) to create an ostensibly “complete” collection of a composer’s works in a given field, in this case Ives’ work for large orchestra. Of course it’s not complete, as it’s only the first four symphonies (Ives wrote 5 plus an unfinished one) and only two of the three” orchestral sets” (sort of American tone poems, though that description isn’t entirely  accurate…). And, to fit on the disks, the sequencing is totally out of whack as Read More

Tonight’s the Night (1973, 1975) by Neil Young

Categories: 1975 and Music.

Neil Young was a star for the first time in 1973. And yet even though he was star, and he was expected to pump out further “Heart of Gold” style hits, his life was a mess. Whether or not he may acknowledge it now, he had drug issues. And within a rather short span of time, the rhythm guitarist for one of his bands died, and then a roadie died, both of heroin overdoses. And he was expected to keep playing “Heart of Gold” and writing more stuff like it. Instead he made this record. I can’t remember why it Read More

For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973) by Caravan

Categories: 1973 and Music.

I really enjoyed the first Caravan album I heard (that would be their second), despite a few glaring drawbacks, and I looked forward to listening to a later one. But this just doesn’t do it for me. For one thing, it’s pretty glaring how conventional these guys were compared to so many other prog bands. And this album, released in prog’s big year of 1973 – when seemingly every major progressive rock band released a classic record – just doesn’t sound particularly forward thinking compared to most of the other major prog rock bands. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s Read More

Equus (1973) by Peter Shaffer

Categories: 1973, Books, and Fiction.

I first saw this in the movie version, which featured Richard Burton chewing through the role of the psychiatrist, about 10 or 12 years ago. I must say that after reading a version wherein the original staging is described, I can’t help but feel the filmmakers made a major mistake trying to make the play “realistic” in its setting. I think the artificial staging quite helps the point, but anyway… Equus is difficult but well worth reading if you want think about things most people don’t want to think about – i.e. is there some social or societal root cause Read More

The Great Paris Concert (1963, 1973, 2005) by Duke Ellington

Categories: 1963 and Music.

This is a solid performance of a solid selection of songs by Duke and his orchestra. But what can I say? I like my jazz radical, and as much as this is an enjoyable set, I’d frankly rather listen to 1963 Mingus or 1963 Trane. I’m not trying to put it down. The whole thing is mostly stellar. Ellington is a little idiosyncratic – do I care where the soloists are from during the actual song? – but I guess that was part of his charm. If you like big band – especially big band that honours jazz traditions – Read More

Acnalbasac Noom (1973, 1982) by Slapp Happy

Categories: 1973 and Music.

So apparently this is the original album, which was rejected by their label and then re-recorded and released as the appropriate name. Then the original was released in the early 80s, or something like that. I haven’t heard the polished second version so I cannot judge whether or not it was the right decision by the record company but my personal bias would say ‘probably not’. What we have hear is catchy but odd-enough pop rock with utterly unique vocals and enough quirks to keep things interesting. It’s hard to know what a record company would have been expecting from 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

Caged Terror (1973, directed by Barrie McLean, Kristen Weingartner): An Appreciation

Categories: 1973 and Movies.

Yesterday, I reminded myself that I am not the man I used to be. I drank lots of beer during the Sens game, and then promptly crashed during dinner, because I can’t drink like I used to, so I stopped drinking, so I crashed. Anyway, as a remedy, I decided I would watch a shitty movie and rejuvenate myself. There are always shitty movies on digital cable, after all. Firstly, Caged Terror (aka Golden Apples of the Sun…I’m serious) is Canadian. That’s its first problem. To call it a “horror” film would be a disservice to the word horror, and Read More

Friday night

Categories: 1973, 1979, 2005, and Music.

I’ve given up on my essay for today and I’m drinking “Austria’s Finest Beer” I’ve been listening to Pink Floyd a lot today and I can’t help thinking how great a guitarist David Gilmour is. Yes, there are far better guitarists in terms of say speed or innovation, but I think few rock guitarists rival his tone, aside from Clapton. It’s just ridiculous. And his solos are always exactly what the song / soundscape needs. While I’m on that, despite all The Wall‘s faults, Bob Ezrin is a brilliant producer. If you can fault The Wall, you can because of Read More