The Old Farts' Blues Jam is now Monday, 7-11, at Patchen Pub. Despite Monday being a not good night and the hum of that room, the jam does seem to be steadily gaining momentum - more musicians, and some listeners as well.
After Jack Bruce's death last month, I was doing a 3 song tribute at the jam: "Rollin' and Tumblin'", "Outside Woman Blues", and "Sunshine of Your Love". Vocals on "Sunshine" were way rough, probably would have gotten better with time.
On to music in:
- Eric Clapton & Friends, "The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)". Released after JJ Cale's death last year, this song has Eric Clapton joined by the likes of Derek Trucks, Don White, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, and John Mayer doing mostly lesser-known (to me anyway) JJ Cale songs. I liked "Magnolia" and "Songbird" and particularly "Starbound". I was doing "After Midnight" (slow like JJ does it), "Crazy Momma" (his only radio hit with him as the performer), and "Cocaine" as a JJ Cale tribute at the jams, with the comment that Eric Clapton made a lot of money off of these songs. 3 stars.
- Imogen Heap, "Sparks". The Deluxe Version of this is quite a value. It has 14 tracks with vocals, which I classified as "chick pop", and then the same 14 tracks as instrumentals, which I classified as "electronica/dance". Ms. Heap is so talented. Very easy to listen to, but no standout tracks. 3 stars.
- The New Pornographers, "Brill Bruisers". I really like this Canadian-pop group. So many different sounds, particularly when the Destroyer guy (Daniel Bejar) sings his songs. Nice catchy tunes. 4 stars.
- Eye To Eye, eponymous, 1982. I ripped this from vinyl. Produced by Gary Katz, who produced most of the later Steely Dan stuff. An American female singer with a British keyboardist who occasionly, thanks to the producer, sound like Steely Dan in an alternate universe where Donald Fagen was a woman. Almost all these songs have a really nice verse, chorus, or bridge, but maybe only the song "Nice Girls", which charted in the US, has all 3. I burned Ben Lacy a copy, he liked it. 4 stars, partly for sentimental reasons.
- Counting Crows, "Somewhere Under Wonderland". Good tunes, a couple that would chart, but I think I may be over these guys. They also included demo versions of the two potential singles, I don't get why they bother with that. 3 stars, 2 stars for the demos.
- Interpol, "El Pintor". I think these guys were originally recommended to me by my nephew, the most excellent drummer Max Heinz. Their quality has been consistent over the last decade or so, but a little punkish for me at this point. 3 stars.
- Sylvan Esso, eponymous. Not sure where I got these guys. A female singer and a producer. Nice alternative stuff. 3 stars, 4 stars for "Coffee".
- Prince, "ART OFFICIAL AGE". Hadn't bought any Prince in years. The Musical Genius Of The 80s still knows how to open a can o' funk. No real standout songs. 3 stars. My favorite Prince song is "Condition of the Heart", off of "Around The World In A Day".
- The Flaming Lips, "With A Little Help From My Fwends". I always say, you have to respect artists in any media who realize, there are no rules, they can do whatever they want. Radiohead comes to mind as a band that shows just how well this can turn out. The Flaming Lips, not so much - their weirdness vector is way large. This effort is not bad. It's kind of fun to listen to - I like Miley Cyrus's narcoleptic vocals on the songs she's on. Still I really don't get what the point of this album was. 3 stars.