Archive for November, 2006

21
Nov
06

Jimmy Buffett “Changes in Latitudes Changes in Attitudes”

By 1977 he’s gotten totally slick, seemingly in search of hits, and Margaritaville sounds like it came pre-tested and out of can, like “cocktails for two.” The cover looks like it was made by the same design teams who work on theme parks and chain restaurants. You can almost see the circle R next to it. Anyway, I really liked this album when it came out, but then I was drinking a lot of RUM at the time.

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20
Nov
06

Jimmy Buffett “A1A”

I really want to like this album, just because it’s (1974) before he got famous for all those cheeseburger in paradise hit songs, and I like the cover so much. It’s named after Highway A1A in Florida– the front is a photo album snapshot of JB sitting on a beach under a palm tree with a bottle of Michelob next to him. The back is a big, hazy photo of the side of the road with the A1A sign– no doubt in the Florida Keys with the Gulf of Mexico in the background. Inside is a CHART of the Florida Keys with snapshots of JB sailing, sunburned, drunk, stoned. He’s essentially a country singer who lived in Key West, really into his lyrics, but with a weakness for novelty lyrics that are sometimes really corny. But if every song was as good as “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season” this would be a great album.

17
Nov
06

Boomtown Rats

“Boomtown Rats,” “A Tonic for the Troops,” and “The Fine Art of Surfacing,” 1977—’79. I haven’t listened to these records since maybe 1980 or ’81 AT ALL, so I had the strange experience of having all that time collapse in the part of my mind’s sonic memory as the all too familiar elements of these catchy pop songs mixed with my ear’s subsequent sophistication and deafness. I forgot about “I Don’t Like Mondays,” a song inspired by a school shooting, and I wondered if the more recent version of the band considered doing “Trenchcoat Mafia” or something. There sure are a lot of songs about suicide on these three records. I really can’t handle Bob Geldof’s voice, but there was one song that sounded so achingly like Bowie, it… well, made me want to listen to Bowie. The worst songs are the ones that sound like bad Springsteen imitations that end with sax solos that lapse into sounding like the Saturday Nite Live house band.

16
Nov
06

Blue Oyster Cult “Agents of Fortune”

No human being can possibly listen to “The Reaper” ever again, but this album has quite a few songs I actually LIKE, such as ETI, which is catchy and funny. I mean, I never really know whether to take any of their lyrics seriously, but apparently in 1976 I did, and wrote to some kind of fan club, because there are some badly dot-matrix printed on green and white stripe computer paper LYRICS stuck into the album cover! I mean, that was probably pretty scifi-ish at the time. Maybe I should donate them to the R&R HOF. The cover folds out to a huge picture of the band wearing tuxes, playing roulette on the surface of the Moon. Apparently, the Moon had some pretty major hair salons, because check out those PERMS!

16
Nov
06

Blue Oyster Cult “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees”

I could never get over how cheesy and badly done the cover to this 1975 live album is—but it’s really FUNNY—and I’ve kept it for that reason— because it’s unlistenable. Well, maybe except for “Last Days of May,” where you’re supposed to get all emotional over the fate of some drug dealers who get abducted by aliens or something. And also, the part before one song where the guy says, “I’d like to thank my friends who gave me this little whip. It’s really lovely and I’ll cherish it forever.” Hilarious! Real inspiration for SPINAL TAP. I saw BOC at the Richfield Coliseum around this time, and it didn’t help that I had a terrific headache from some bad pot I bought from a sleazy hippie and was sitting in the rafters, but seeing the one guitarist do that little half-hearted foot kick during a guitar solo, I kind of wrote them off right then. Plus, they were following ZZ Top who was the loudest band I’ve ever heard, and had LIVE COWS come up on either side of the stage on risers! Talk about a hard act to follow!

14
Nov
06

Blondie “Plastic Letters”

I liked the first album better, but I don’t have it anymore. This one is pretty good, still, before they got too slick with the next one with all the hits. I always thought “I’m on E” was about the KEY of E, but listening more closely, she says “E for England,” though the song is about cars on empty, but of course we all know it’s REALLY about “E.” Well, I saw them around 1980 or so and never forgave them for being boring. The back cover picture is great—they should have been called The 5 O’clock Shadows. It’s funny, because she is obviously bleached blonde, and the guys are so hairy, and her name is Harry. (That makes me think of ZZ Top, where the two guys have long beards and the guy without a beard is named Frank Beard.) Is it true that the band’s original name was Debbie Harry and the Hirsute Gentlemen? I read that somewhere.

13
Nov
06

Jeff Beck “Blow by Blow”

Why would a guy in the Yardbirds live until 1975 and make a record of SMOOTH JAZZ? Did Jimmy Page drive him that crazy? I guess it must have been hard watching those assholes in Led Zeppelin put out like five awesome records by this time. Well, anyway, at least it’s better than BECK. Here’s the good thing: the back cover photo is very cool, he looks good. Look at the KINK in the guitar cord! Then look at the cover illustration, which copies the back cover photo exactly, though somewhat expressionistically. There is NO kink in the guitar cord. That says EVERYTHING.




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