Archive for June, 2007


Robert Gordon w/Link Wray “Fresh Fish Special”

I was never that crazy about this (1978) record, and I’ve never been that big of a rockabilly fan– but it sounds really good now– it’s a nice thing to hear on vinyl– it’s a clear recording and it sounds very real. I’ve never known too much about Robert Gordon– maybe his singing is all you need to know about him. Link Wray is legendary, of course, plus he looks good and has a cool name. Some of these songs I’ve heard WAY too many times, since they’ve been played by SO MANY people over lots of years. So it’s the subtleties that I’m drawn too on this record. “Lonesome Train” is the standout song for me (finally, a good train song!) mostly because I’m listening to how awesome the guitar playing is on it, and I’m thinking that (even though I know you E. fans won’t agree) this is the best version of this song I’ve ever heard.


Genesis “A Trick of the Tail”

I know I liked this when I was 16, but now it’s just unbearable to listen to. It’s the first Genesis record without Peter Gabriel, which means it’s Phil Collins singing! His voice and my brain will forever clash.


Genesis “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”

This is really ambitious– it seems like there were some pretty inspired double albums in the 1970s, those were often a band’s best record. Lots of pictures in the fold out, looks like Cocteau movies (art by “Hipgnosis”). There is a long story inside by Peter Gabriel about “Rael.” Fuck if I’m going to read it– okay, maybe– PLUS there are extensive lyrics on the sleeves, lot’o’words– and a lot of it’s dreadful boring wanky prog rock– but there ARE some inspired moments: “The Carpet Crawlers”– good, weird song, “The Chamber of 32 Doors”– that’s the best song. The story is crap.

It’s not like Bob Dylan wouldn’t do a whole album about a guy names “Rael”– he did, several, but Rael’s name is Bob Dylan. With these guys it’s the distance that’s annoying– it’s not about THEM (which is what at least got to be more appealing about Peter Gabriel, later). It’s like– in “The Song Remains The Same”–the movie– who do you relate to? Jimmy Page, tripping by the river, or the other guys who schlep home after a hard day at the “office” with their lunch pails– “That rock’n’roll stuff is sure hard work! Honey, I’m home…”

You’ve got to love some of the titles: “The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging”, “Hairless Heart”, “The Supernatural Anaesthetist of Lamia”, “Riding the Scree”, “In the Rapids”, and my favorite, a “suite” of songs: “The Colony of Slippermen” which includes, “The Arrival”, “A Visit to the Doktor” and “The Raven” and “IT” (in italics!).


Genesis “Selling England by the Pound”

(1973) This one is much better– they pull off a good melody here and there– but they’re still over-playing, over-orchestrating, over-composing by about 6000%. There’s a little brown and white picture of the band on the lyrics sleeve– five guys in the band (including Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins), and they’re pretty cute! All with long hair, some beards– it’s hard to ever think of these guys as young, but they were young!

Okay– I remember this song (“I Know What I Like (in your Wardrobe)”)– really familiar. I must have put this one on a mix 8-track. “The Battle of Epping Forest”–ha! Wimpy! Boring!  Here are some good, mysterious notes from the lyrics sheet: “English Ribs (w/prices)/ Peek Freans Family Assorted/ Fairy Liquid Giant slashed/ Table Jellys/ Anchor Butter/ Birds Eye Dairy Cream Sponge/ It’s Scrambled Eggs!”


Genesis “Nursery Cryme”

I thought that since this one was going WAY back (1972), it might have something interesting about it. But I found myself leaving the room like there was a guest there I was trying to avoid.


Emerson Lake & Palmer “PROGRAMME”

This is the official “Programme” for the 1977 North American Tour, the one with the orchestra, which they had to let go by the time they got to Cleveland. This thing had to be expensive to print, it has a die cut ELP logo on the cover, with a red skull showing through, which is, on the inside cover, on a pirate flag. There is quite the pirate theme here, because of their song “Pirates.” My school was the Pirates. Pirates are IN more than ever RIGHT NOW, I guess due to that Johnny Depp movie, and Disney. But it really really baffles me to no fucking end WHY pirates are so romantic and fun to everyone, but GANGS and TERRORISTS are so scary to everyone. I mean, you can’t even JOKE about terrorists without risking going to prison. But you can go out and dress like a pirate and run a Jolly Roger up the mast of your stupid boat. Do people not understand that pirates and terrorists are THE SAME THING? I know people are dumb, but THAT DUMB?

Sorry… okay, a two page corny pirate spread with lyrics. Big color photos of the guys in the band– nice– oh, whoops!– Greg Lake’s left handed in this one! There is an ELP crossword puzzle! Extensive articles and interviews. They don’t like the label “classical rock”– they prefer “progressive rock with a lot of regard for the past.” Yikes, there is some funny shit, the way they talk about music. You really understand where punk rock was coming from when you see this stuff. You get to hear a little bit about how much they exercised in preparation for the tour. (This was back when NO ONE exercised!)

On tour with 25 tons of gear, seven 45 foot trucks, and three busloads of orchestra musicians. You’ve got to hand it to them. Lots of rotating moving stage shit, and risers, all that. And Greg Lake keeps it real by simply standing on one of his priceless Persian rugs. I really do miss the Seventies sometimes.


Gang of Four “Solid Gold”

This is one of those records I feel is pretty awesome on paper, but I can’t feel it in my gut. Maybe because a roommate played it too much, or I didn’t play it enough, or because I have that kind of special feeling about their first record that I can’t get from this one.

Again with the melodica! Hey, guys… there’s a reason Jimi Hendrix didn’t play the melodica! The song, “A Hole in the Wallet” sounds oddly familiar– the chorus– creepily familiar. Why? I wonder.

I feel like on this record, more than the first, they KNOW they’re awesome, and that’s a problem.

From 1981. On a big label (WB). My favorite song: “What We All Want.”

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June 2007