Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"Planet Waves"

Bob Dylan:  "Planet Waves"
Secondhand Vinyl Album
Purchased at Last Stop CD Shop in Sioux Falls, SD
Original Release Date:  1974
My Rating:  5 Stars

Side One
On A Night Like This
Going Going Gone
Tough Mama
Something There Is About You
Forever Young

Side Two
Forever Young 
You Angel You
Never Say Goodbye
Wedding Song

   Once upon a time a young pretentious art major refused to listen to Bob Dylan simply because everyone told her she should. Perhaps the term, "everyone," is a bit of an exaggeration.  Okay, once upon a time a young stubborn art major refused to listen to Bob Dylan because her then boyfriend constantly insisted that she must.  Yep, that statement sounds a bit more accurate.  
   No matter how much time goes by I can't help thinking about, "he who shall remain unnamed," when I listen to Dylan records.  I clearly remember his persistent argument, "I didn't like Bob Dylan's voice at first either!  You have to concentrate on his lyrics and the stories he tells! Besides, you love Neil Young and listen to his singing!"  While my ex-boyfriend is long gone his words still resonate with me and's freak'n annoying.  Of course, he was totally right.  Luckily, not long after the last gasp of that relationship, I lifted my Bob Dylan ban and since have become quite the fan.  I like to think of this occurrence as poetic more ways than one.  
   This all being stated, I don't recall most Dylan fanatics ranting specifically about the album, "Planet Waves," and lately I've been wondering, "Why not?"  This record is yet another magnificent collaboration between Bob Dylan and The Band.  I can truly think of no other ensemble to better compliment Dylan's storytelling than Robbie Robertson's group of talented musicians. My favorite moments on, "Planet Waves," include the intensely romantic ballads of, "Going Going Gone," "Dirge," and, "Wedding Song." Honestly, the sublime sounds of this album inspires my tears for multiple reasons, but none make me more sad than all the time I wasted not listening to, "Planet Waves," out of sheer spite.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Echo And The Bunnymen:  "Crocodiles"
Secondhand Vinyl Album
Purchased at the Fargo Record Fair
Original Release Date:  1980
My Rating:  4 Stars

Side One
Going Up
Do It Clean
Stars Are Stars

Side Two
Villiers Terrace
Read It In Books
Pictures On My Wall
All That Jazz
Happy Death Men

   It's not uncommon for me to have a preconceived notion of what an album is going to sound like.  Sometimes the expectation I've constructed in my head does not accurately define the actual sounds emanating from my stereo.  When this happens it takes this blogger more than a few listens to form an honest opinion.  Otherwise I simply find myself entangled in the idea, "Wait, this isn't right. Where's my 80's New Wave?  I want angst damn it!  Angst!"  These were the exact sentences running through my head upon the first listen of, "Crocodiles," by Echo And The Bunnymen.  
   Eventually, after my initial confusion, I reminded myself most musicians experience an evolution process throughout their body of work.  One can't judge a group's entire discography by their greatest hits collection.  Basically, every band has to start somewhere.  Apparently, by the sound of their debut album, the starting point for Echo And The Bunnymen was somewhere between Prog Rock and Punk.  No wonder after my first listen I was left thinking, "Wha?"
   Despite these feelings of disorientation, I eventually found myself warming up to this new concept of a rather old band.  In particular, it was the psychedelic soaked songs of, "Going Up," "Do It Clean," and, "Happy Death Men," that convinced me that this group's later, more Emo based work, is not necessarily their best.  In conclusion, don't always trust the, "Crocodile," tears of Echo And The Bunnymen.  They weren't always so brooding.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Strange Weather"

Marianne Faithfull:  "Strange Weather"
Secondhand Vinyl Album
Purchased at the Fargo Record Fair
Original Release Date:  1987  
My Rating:  5 Stars

Side One
Stranger Intro
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
I Ain't Goin' Down To The Well No More
Sign Of Judgement
Strange Weather

Side Two
Love Life And Money
I'll Keep It With Mine
Hello Stranger
Penthouse Serenade
As Tears Go By
A Stranger On Earth

   I'm happy to report that, for the most part, I'm able to shop for vinyl among others without fighting. Please note that I wrote, "for the most part."  Unfortunately, sometimes wishlists overlap.  It's these occasions that can get a little competitive...a titch intense...okay, freak'n cut-throat. However, what can one expect when dealing with hard to find, often out of print albums?  Sometimes a collector just has to get aggressive.
   Thankfully, I didn't have to resort to violence when finding Marianne Faithfull's, "Strange Weather," at the Fargo Record Fair.  At the time my father was distracted by his own quest for treasures.  Actually I just yelled, "SQUIRREL!" and pointed in another direction before hastily paying for this album and stashing it in my tote bag.  Like I said folks, vinyl shopping can get rough. I wasn't about to give this selection to my equally interested father.  
   While I do feel slightly guilty for hoarding a prize both of us would certainly covet, I have to state, "I'M SO HAPPY I DID!"  "Strange Weather," is an album featuring Marianne Faithfull's unique, and often haunting, interpretation of a selection of songs whose origins range from the 1930's to the 1980's.  The most notable pieces on this album include a stark a cappella version of Leadbelly's, "I Ain't Goin' Down To The Well No More," the serene bohemian feel of Bob Dylan's, "I'll Keep It With Mine," and the ballroom swank of, "Penthouse Serenade."  Mostly this blogger was amazed at how cohesive an album Faithfull was able to accomplish, despite the wide range of material she covered.   Of course, having the the help of one of my favorite guitarists, Bill Frisell, along the way sure didn't hurt.  
   Yep, it's albums of this quality that don't make me feel so bad about not sharing with dad.  Besides, he owes me for all of those Donovan records he stole from me.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Nativity In Black"

Nativity In Black (A Tribute To Black Sabbath)
Secondhand Vinyl Album
Purchased at the Fargo Record Fair
Original Release Date:  1994
My Rating:  4 Stars

Side One
After Forever:  Biohazard
Children Of The Grave:  White Zombie
Paranoid:  Megadeth
Solitude:  Cathedral

Side Two
Supernaut:  1,000 Homo DJ's
Iron Man:  Ozzy Osbourne w/ Therapy?
Lord Of This World:  Corrosion Of Conformity

Side Three
Symptom Of The Universe:  Sepultura
The Wizard:  Bullring Brummies
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath:  Bruce Dickinson w/ Godspeed

Side Four
N.I.B.:  Ugly Kid Joe
War Pigs (Live):  Faith No More
Black Sabbath:  Type O Negative

   Basically, "Nativity In Black," is the first album of many at the Fargo Record Fair that spawned the reoccurring thought, "Well, this is definitely coming home with me."  I instantly recognized this record's cover from my time spent working for the Barnes & Noble music department.  Back then I remember looking at it and thinking, "Man, that looks like a kick ass line up of bands for a Black Sabbath Tribute!"  Unfortunately, at the time I never got around to actually listening to this album.  Today I regret this since I'm now convinced it contains music I could really party to. However now, many years later, I can truthfully state that, "Nativity In Black," is a record that's even fun to hear while sober.
   I feel I must clarify I love a good compilation album.  In fact, these types of records have been the springboard for much of my music collection.   While I don't anticipate buying a whole lot of Heavy Metal in the future, I do believe this now annoyingly strait-laced listener could use a little loosening up from time to time.  Nothing says lack of control more than headbanging to Megadeth performing the song Paranoid.  Not that I would ever do such a thing...
   In this listener's opinion the highlights of, "Nativity In Black," include the recognizable rollicking guitar style of White Zombie, the smarmy sass of Ugly Kid Joe, and of course, the heavier than heavy vocals of Type O Negative that persuade even the most devout Christian listener to flash a little bit of the devil horns. However, when doing so make sure you've got your other hand free.  As stated earlier, this is music that makes one want to slam a beverage or two and then crush the container on your forehead...even if that container says Starbucks on its' side.