Monday, September 21, 2015

Music: In, Out, and Over

Let's start it off with music in. We've got more sources than usual this time around.
  • Sunset Hearts, "wwwindswept", 2014. The current main band of my most excellent drumming nephew Max Heinz in Portland ME. 7 tracks, purchased from bandcamp. Very well produced, but I don't think the songs were quite up the quality of their debut album. 3 stars.
  • Marie Stella, "from", 2011. Max's prior band. A lot edgier than Sunset Hearts, very strong alternative rock. 6 tracks, purchased from bandcamp. 3 stars.
  • The Beach Boys, "Ten Years of Harmony", 1980. Ripped from vinyl loaned to me by friend musician Richard Mattingly. He says this was a fan club only release. It covers mostly the same great period as the Beach Boys I had already ripped: "Sunflower" through "Holland" including my favorite "Surf's Up". 27 trecks, including a few I hadn't heard. None of those were standouts, so I just gave the whole thing 3 stars.
  • The KingBees, "Hoodoo Moon", 2013. These guys are a Louisville blues band. My wife and I happened to catch them at Stevie Ray's when we were spending a weekend in Louisville. 5 piece, harpist, guitarist, bassist, and keyboard player all good vocalists. Then at the Tuesday Blues Jam at Weekend Willie's in Naples FL, I wound up playing with the harpist/vocalist Rick Cain - he also has a place in Naples. Last time I played there on a Wednesday night sitting in with Black Cat Bone, he was there and we chatted and he gave me this CD. It is well produced and has some decent songs, but there was also misogyny and sexism that I don't have much use for at this point - songs like "Younger Girls", "I Got My Ex Paid Off", "Gimme My Money Back". 2 stars
  • Tame Impala, "Currents". I love this band's sound, but the songs on this album were not as strong as on their prior album. 3 stars.
  • The Cisco Cliftons, "Is Anybody Out There?". The drummer for this band is young Evan Stripplehoff. He was the 1st drummer of record for the jam I was running at Heny Clay Public House a few summers ago. He got an mechanical engineering degree from UK, worked in the field for 5-6 years, got tired of it, had enough money in the bank to try to pursue music full-time. He's in a couple other bands, this is I think his best. 3 tracks, I think from bandcamp. Well engineered and suprisingly tasty tunes. 4 stars.
  • Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, "Free For All", 1964. Ripped from my vinyl. Art Blakey is an incredibly strong drummer. And for all my normal complaints about jazz not having enough hook, the 1st 2 tracks, the title track and "Hammer Head", both written by Wayne Shorter, are really catchy. 4 stars for those 2, 3 stars for the other 2 tracks.
  • The Blues Project, eponymous, 1972. Ripped from vinyl. Subtitled "A Compendium Of The Very Best On The Urban Blues Scene". Maybe better would have been "White Guys from Greenwich Village play the blues". 4 or 5 mostly solo guitarist/vocalists. Most of the guitar work is very good, the vocals not so much so. It made me think of local musician Willie Eames - a white guy playing traditional blues (and other stuff) - who is 10 times as good as any of these guys. I burned him a copy, hopefully I'll get it to him sometime. 3 stars.
  • The Blues Project, "Live At Town Hall", 1967. Ripped from vinyl. Wow, what a difference. I remember most of this one. Al Kooper on Keys, Denny Kalb on guitar. I think I remember playing "Flute Thing", "Wake Me, Shake Me", and maybe "I Can't Keep From Crying", but I can't imagine what band that would have been with. Put this in the Psychedelic genre - I think the 1st album in that genre that doesn't suck! 4 stars for those 3 tracks, 3 stars for the rest.
  • Bonzo Dog Band, "Urban Spaceman" 1968; "Keynsham" 1969, "Let's Make Up And Be Friendly" 1972. Ripped from vinyl. Also known as the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. They were a British novelty band from Back In The Day, led by Vivian Stanshall. We really liked "Urban Spaceman", but, man, novelty doesn't age well. 3 stars for "I'm The Urban Spaceman", "We Are Normal", "Beautiful Zelda", and "Mustachioed Daughters", 2 stars for everything else. I created a Novelty genre for this. I also put Ween in it.
  • Arthur Brown, "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown", 1968. Ripped from vinyl. Wow, talk about something that did age well. I thought Arthur Brown was a black guy, but he's a British white guy. He was known for his theatrics. I think the song "Fire" was a radio hit. The main instrument on the album is kickass organ, with horns on some songs. I put this in the Unclassifiable genre, really hard to characterize. 4 stars, 3 for "Spontaneous Apple Creation".
  • Joss Stone, "Water For Your Soul". Quite a bit more reggae than Ms. Stone's earlier efforts. It didn't do that much for me. 3 stars.
  • Lianne La Havas, "Blood". I think I heard a track from this on WRFL. Nice vocalist from London, some bossa nova / spanish sounds, but also some more energetic sounds. A nice mix of tunes. 4 stars.
  • Will Nelson & Merle Haggard, "Django and Jimmie". Recommended by my friend bassist Gary Jones. Had to go for it, love both these old guys. A few covers but mostly new stuff. 3 stars.
  • Adron, "Organismo", 2011. Recommended by my friend bassist extraordinaire Jairaj Swann when she was going to be performing in Lexington recently. They are currently both based in Atlanta. Beautiful vocals and guitar work. Consistently interesting songs. Sorry I didn't see her. 4 stars.
  • Cibo Matto, "Hotel Valentine", 2014. Couldn't resist another entry to the "Japanese Chick Pop" genre. Hunh, their other 2 albums I have are from 1996 and 1999, with not many since then. Sounds pretty much the same as those, decent listening. 3 stars
That brings us up through mid-August. 5 new ones in the hopper for next time.

On to the music out - and over. It looks like I have retired from being a semi-professional jam musician. I haven't been out playing - or picked up a guitar for that matter - since mid-June. Maybe it will just be temporary, I don't know.

Most of the musicians at the jam have 10 songs in their repertoire, maybe 20. I've done 84 over the years, but had only been able to work in 1 new song in the last year. I get tired of doing the same stuff ("play 'Crossroads'"). And overall, I don't know, sometimes I felt like I sounded good, and people would say I sounded good, but videos of my playing and singing seemed to me to be consistently pretty sucky. And I've always said, I don't do things if I suck at them.

Plus, a few things lately, minor but very annoying health issues, have reminded me, I'm getting old. I don't need to be staying out late in bars drinking, smoking, and otherwise abusing myself.

And, I seem to have very little inclination to practice lately - too many books to read, too many tweets to tweet.

So, the guitar cases stay in the basement for a while. We'll see how long, I guess.

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