Tuesday, November 30, 2010


When is a scream not just a scream? When it is turned inside out and transformed before your very ears into something achingly beautiful and almost delicate.  Tim Buckley took us out there with this funk rock jazz freak folk.

'Starsailor' is an album that will lure you in with a sultry groove and then tear down the walls with raw emotion and explosive blast of vocal dexterity. Everything changes and challenges your preconceptions from song to song. The transition from the avante garde 'Monterey' to the sweet and silly traditional 'Moulin Rouge' is hysterical. There is drama and tension in his beatnick funky howler 'Jungle Fire'. The way he sings about an island where his love could live and "life dreams from deep inside" and takes that note wipes the floor with it. The indescribable title track may be the strangest song you've ever heard. The simple grace and elegance of 'Song to the Siren' is his finest moment.



"Did I dream you dreamed about me?"

"Little girl
Smile so brightly"

"She breathes the eternal and we share the tranquil time"

"You were an island behind the sun
Yes an island
Where my love could live and life breathes
From deep inside"

"Oblivion carries me on his shoulder"

"I was born to know your way

"Complete for an instant the dance figure pure constellation"

full album:

All lyrics by Larry Beckett and all music by Tim Buckley, except where noted.

Side One
"Come Here Woman" (Buckley) – 4:09
"I Woke Up" – 4:02
"Monterey" – 4:30
"Moulin Rouge" – 1:57
"Song to the Siren" (Buckley) – 3:20
Side Two
"Jungle Fire" (Buckley) – 4:42
"Starsailor" (John Balkin, Beckett, Buckley) – 4:36
"The Healing Festival" (Buckley) – 3:16

"Down by the Borderline" (Buckley) – 5:22

Monday, November 29, 2010

benny goodman trio

Benny Goodman broke racial barriers when he accepted an invitation to play at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. It lasted six months and was broadcast nationwide on the radio. It was during this musical residency that his newly formed trio made its public debut. This was the first time that black and white musicians performed on stage together in public. At the height of segregation the Rhythm Club performances were historic. When Goodman met pianist Teddy Wilson at a jam party he thought they played like they were "thinking with the same brain." With Gene Krupa on drums, this small ensemble played intricate solos that took the emphasis away from a big band sound.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

lola versus powerman and the moneygoround, part one

The Kinks had the comeback their record company desperately wanted while at the same time exposing the greed and corruption of that same record company and a seedy little system that exploits musicians while it hates their music. "Everyone take a little bit here and a little bit there. Do they all deserve money from a song that they've never heard? They don't know the tune and they don't know the words."

The Kinks seemed to be on the decline when the sensational and scandalous 'Lola' became their first top ten hit in five years (three in the U.K.). The song about a transvestite ties into the theme of the album where you cannot trust the people around you and the claustrophobia of the rat race is for suckers and slaves. Old Soho was a far cry from the Village Green. The success of 'Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One' came just as their record contracts expired and bought them some bargaining power with which they negotiated a new record deal and an advance that allowed them to build their own recording studio.


'Lola' went to number nine in the US; four in Australia; two in Canada, Germany, and the UK; and number one in the Netherlands and New Zealand.

"Well I'm not dumb, but I can't understand
why she walked like a woman and talked like a man."

'Ape Man' swung to number forty-five in the US; nineteen in Canada; nine in the Netherlands; eight in Germany; and number five in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

"In man's evolution he has created the city and the motor traffic rumble,
but give me half a chance and I'd be taking off my clothes and living in the jungle."


"We'll take what we want and give the rest away."

'Get Back In Line'

"Those union men have such a hold on me."

'Got To Be Free'

"I ain’t nobody’s slave."

'Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One'

full album:

All tracks written by Ray Davies except where noted.

Side one

1. "The Contenders"   2:42
2. "Strangers" (Dave Davies) 3:20
3. "Denmark Street"   2:02
4. "Get Back in Line"   3:04
5. "Lola"   4:01
6. "Top of the Pops"   3:40
7. "The Moneygoround"   1:47
Side two
8. "This Time Tomorrow"   3:22
9. "A Long Way from Home"   2:27
10. "Rats" (Dave Davies) 2:40
11. "Apeman"   3:52
12. "Powerman"   4:18
13. "Got to Be Free"   3:01

Saturday, November 27, 2010

bosom buddies

Thirty years ago, Kip and Henry disguised themselves as "Buffy" and "Hildegarde" to move into the women-only Susan B. Anthony Hotel. The rent was cheap and being surrounded by beautiful women was an added bonus. For the second season, the boys revealed their ruse and the show jumped the shark. Bosom Buddies lasted for only two seasons; but it launched the career of Tom Hanks and had us all singing along with the theme song.

This episode introduced Rita Wilson to her future husband.

Friday, November 26, 2010

rock around the clock

Fifty five years ago the reverberations of Rock and Roll reached the British airwaves. It was more than four months between Bill Haley taking it to number one in the U.S. and it finally topping the charts in the U.K. it stalled on both charts until it was featured in the film Blackboard Jungle. Two decades later it had a resurgence when it was featured on the big screen in American Graffiti and the small screen in Happy Days. As the first rock record to top the charts, 'Rock Around the Clock' marks the moment when Rock and Roll captured the Amercian Zeitgeist.

One, Two, Three O'clock, Four O'clock rock,
Five, Six, Seven O'clock, Eight O'clock rock.
Nine, Ten, Eleven O'clock, Twelve O'clock rock,
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight.

Put your glad rags on and join me hon',
We'll have some fun when the clock strikes one.

We're gonna rock around the clock tonight,
We're gonna rock, rock, rock, 'till broad daylight,
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight.

When the clock strikes two, three and four,
If the band slows down we'll yell for more.

We're gonna rock around the clock tonight,
We're gonna rock, rock, rock, 'till broad daylight,
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight.

When the chimes ring five, six, and seven,
We'll be right in seventh heaven.

We're gonna rock around the clock tonight,
We're gonna rock, rock, rock, 'till broad daylight,
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight.

When it's eight, nine, ten, eleven too,
I'll be goin' strong and so will you.

We're gonna rock around the clock tonight,
We're gonna rock, rock, rock, 'till broad daylight,
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight.

When the clock stikes twelve we'll cool off then,
Start rockin' 'round the clock again.

We're gonna rock around the clock tonight,
We're gonna rock, rock, rock, 'till broad daylight,
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

all things must pass

The quiet Beatle surprised everyone when he released this triple album (the first from a solo artist) masterpiece. All Things Must Pass is a lot to digest. George Harrison's songwriting talent had long been suppressed in the shadow of Lennon and McCartney; and so, he had a lot of material saved up that didn't make it onto any of the fab four's releases. There are numerous in-jokes and even more guest appearances. throughout the six sides, the playing is masterful. The sweeping, orchestral majesty of the ballads is balanced by the rawness and spontaneity of the apple jams. What I like most is that you can get lost in the individual songs, each of which is excellent in its own right. This album rewards repeated listens. It's message of love unfolds by degrees as you open to it, much like the spiritual quest it describes. It is a statement of the spiritual power of music, an enlightening and inspiring tour de force that stands as the pinnacle of Harrison's artistry. It topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic, sold six times platinum, and is the best selling solo Beatle record.

From the opening appeal of "let me in here, I know I've been here" in 'I'd Have You Anytime' (co-written with Bob Dylan) you know you are being brought into something very warm and intimate. I like to think that it's a message to all of us from God; not an angry or judgmental God, but a loving and accepting God.

The title track is a mystical ballad inspired by the Tao Te Ching that uses sweeping horns and strings to describe the cycles of life: "daylight is good at arriving at the right time." As the sun sets in one place, it rises in another: "it's not always going to be this grey."

'Run of the Mill' is a horn-driven call for spiritual responsibility. It seems to take on the perspective of God, gently reminding us the karmic lesson: "only you'll arrive at your own made end, with no one but yourself to be offended. It's you that decides."

'What Is Life' kicks off with an upbeat guitar and a driving horn section. When the chorus asks "what is my life without your love?", it's unclear whether it is romantic or spiritual love or even whether it is from the perspective of man or God. In any case, it's one of the most immediately catchy songs on the album. As the second single, it made it to number ten on the U.S. charts.

'The Art of Dying' is a hard rocking treatise on the cycle of reincarnation and karma: "living through a million years of crying." The soaring guitar borders on acid rock and takes everything up a notch, spiraling out of control in a dizzying wail.

George advises us to seek the light in 'Beware Of Darkness'. "Sadness", "hopelessness", "greedy leaders", and "Maya" all tie into the same pernicious sense of despair that will "take you where you should not go."

The rollicking wall-of-sound (this is the one song that doesn't sound any different on the cd version) of 'Awaiting On You All' reminds us that God is there waiting for us to connect with him, and that we don't need a lot of the things we are led to believe we need to do so. There is a controversial couplet that you have to listen hard to decipher (since it isn't included in the printed lyrics): "the Pope owns fifty one percent of General Motors; the stock exchange is the only thing he's qualified to quote us." There is no monopoly on God.

The instrumental jam 'Out of the Blue' starts suddenly; and it sounds much better on the reissue following the abrupt finish of 'Pepperoni' than it did on the original release starting side five. My favorite of the apple jams; it is also the longest and the most intriguing. It gallops along and gradually slows down to a thoughtful and atmospheric walk that builds up again to charge through to a dynamic conclusion that closes the new version of the album.

All Things Must Pass

full album:

All songs written by George Harrison, except where noted.

side one
00:00:00 I'd Have You Anytime (Harrison, Bob Dylan)
00:03:00 My Sweet Lord
00:07:43 Wah-Wah
00:13:23 Isn't It A Pity (Version One)
side two
00:20:34 What Is Life
00:25:01 If Not For You  (Dylan)
00:28:34 Behind That Locked Door
00:31:44 Let It Down
00:36:45 Run Of The Mill
side three
00:39:38 Beware Of Darkness
00:43:29 Apple Scruffs
00:46:39 Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
00:50:31 Awaiting On You All
00:53:21 All Things Must Pass
side four
00:57:10 I Dig Love
01:02:10 Art Of Dying
01:05:54 Isn't It A Pity (Version Two)
01:10:45 Hear Me Lord
side five (apple jam)
01:16:35 Out Of The Blue
01:27:52 It's Johnny's Birthday
01:28:42 Plug Me In
side five (apple jam)
01:32:05 I Remember Jeep
01:40:14 Thanks For The Pepperoni