Archive for April, 2007


Peter Gabriel

This is Peter Gabriel’s first (1977) solo record, the one with the cover (by “Hipgnosis”) with a picture of a blue car covered with rain, some of it looking real, and some looking airbrushed. You can see a guy in the car, and on back it’s a different angle. Then on the sleeve, the window’s coming down… it’s… surprise… Peter Gabriel! (Or I assume.) Then the other side of the sleeve– his eyes are all white, like the “master” on “Kung Fu.”

The first song sounds like he’s still in Genesis (the band), then comes the hit, the pop song “Solsbury Hill” which is okay, but I can do without it. Then he rocks out with “Modern Love” which was our favorite back then, just because it’s a simple farfisa up-tempo song, but the thing we really got excited about was the audible vocal “Uhhhh!” before the lyrics started. It didn’t take much to impress us back then. Then there’s a song that sounds like Nilsson, more Genesis, more rocking out 70’s guitar rock, then one that sounds like a wankier version of Leon Russell, then some more wanky Genesis crapola, which nicely sets up his anthem, “Here Comes the Flood,” which really is an okay song, and an early song about global warming!

The funny thing is “Here Comes the Flood” is also on Robert Fripp’s “Exposure”– so I decide to compare the two. Both are totally Gabriel– he sings it, he wrote it– but what is odd is that the one on Fripp’s album is more acoustic, less produced, it’s got nice piano, it’s subtler, and better. The one on this record is trying too hard for the big moment, and nearly ruined by guitar, especially a horrible solo. I would give anything to see Fripp and Gabriel discussing these two versions. I was wondering if Fripp, who played guitar on this record, purposely ruined the song! But I look at the credits, and two notorious guitar wankers also played on the record, Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner (who is credited with the solo).


Robert Fripp “Exposure”

I was a little surprised listening to this record after all these years (It came out in 1979). It wasn’t anything like I remembered it. For one thing, I was listening to it late at night, falling asleep, and I had the impression that it was REALLY LONG, like somehow several hours on an LP– or at least, say 60 to 90 minutes– so listening to it again, I timed it, and it’s not long at all, like 46 minutes!

There is a lot of mention of “Frippertronics” which got kind of annoying to me, reading the album cover and notes, so I looked that up and found that it is a tape loop effect that Robert Fripp invented, using two reel-to-reels, with a delay– so it’s a really charming old analog effect!

The songs on this record are all over the place– it sounds like several different bands. It starts with a standard rock song, “You burn me up I’m a cigarette,” which is kind of embarrassing, but maybe ironic? The best stuff is the Brain Eno influenced songs that sound a lot like that “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” record. Then there is a huge Peter Gabriel element– in fact it sounds partly like a Peter Gabriel record, which is interesting because guess who is coming next in the alphabet…


The Flesh Eaters “A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die”

I bought this record in 1981, when it came out, for my record store. I never heard of The Flesh Eaters. I was ordering records and called Slash Records in LA, and I THINK I was talking to Chris D., or a guy who led me to believe that’s who he was. He sold me on this record, I guess, which is the only Flesh Eaters record I’ve ever heard. This is Chris D’s band, which is essentially members of X and The Blasters, and heavy on sax and percussion. The songs are good, interesting, and ambitious, very repetitious and somewhat droning, with a lot of personality, particularly Chris D’s vocals.

This is one of those bands that’s really “good on paper” but I can’t figure out why I don’t like them more. That’s the musical question. Too over-determined, maybe. I mean, I like the record a lot, but it’s not one of my favorites. Plus, it’s a bit uneven. I love a few of the songs, and kind of never want to hear a few of them ever again. Also, it’s kind of interesting that while Chris D wrote all the songs but one, the one that John Doe wrote, “Cyrano de Berger’s Back,” is the best song on the album.

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April 2007