Sunday, May 12, 2019

PETER FRAMPTON - "SHADOW OF MY MIND"

Shadow of My Mind (Peter Frampton) - 3:52 rating: ***** stars


A couple of years back a friend convinced me to go see Peter Frampton at a small, local club (The Birchmere).  I hadn't seen Frampton since I was a junior in high school (yes, I saw the "Frampton Comes Alive" tour).   I hadn't bought a Frampton album, or listened to a Frampton song in decades.   And in spite of my initial reluctance, it turned into one of the best shows I've seen in years.  

Like all of us Frampton had aged (the golden locks were hone), but he'd done so with grace and a pleasing sense of humor.  He talked to the audience and played a mix of the hits and newer material and it was just a fun evening.  I was so pleased that on the way out I bought a copy of what was then his new album "Hummingbird In a Box: Songs for a Ballet".  And that album sat on my shelves for five years.  And out of the blue I heard this song and it the lyrics seemingly describing middle aged contentment just struck a chord with me (I celebrated another birthday on April 22nd).   Add to that, one of his prettiest melodies and some dazzling slide work ...  what's not too like?

Here's the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty779xP5Wxk

Sunday, May 5, 2019

XTC - "I'M THE MAN WHO MURDERED LOVE"

I'm the The Man Who Murdered Love - 3:49 rating: ***** stars

I'll readily admit to having totally overlooked XTC's 2000 "Wasp Star: Apple Venus Volume II" collection when it came out.  And I probably would never have discovered it had it not been for an XTC cover band I saw at a local venue.  The group played all of the XTC hits and near misses and out of the blue played this amazing slice of blue-eyed soul.  A month later I still can't get it out of my head.  Never would have thought that Andy Partridge and company could sound so soulful.

Here's the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CSc4SAFWD4

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NEIL FINN - "SECOND NATURE"

Second Nature (Neil Finn) - 3:49 rating: **** stars


I've been a Neil Finn fan since I was in college (Split Enz and Crowded House) and over the ensuing years have renewed by connection with his catalog from time to time.  Anyhow, I stumbled across this song on YouTube and simply couldn't shake it out of my head.  Finn may simply be one of the most overlooked talents out there and 'Second Nature' is simply a stunning tune.  It's basically just 3:49 of hooks.  Add the fact it's recorded live and the result's simply breathtaking.

And the promotional video is mesmerizing.  Watching these folks record the tune is simply a joyous experience.  They seem to be having one of those special occasions that come along once in a blue moon.  Kudos to the backing singers - they are simply amazing.

Here's the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q7Jr0w5MLk 

DAVID CROSBY - "WHAT'S BROKEN"

What's Broken - James Raymond - 3:48    rating: **** stars

So here's what I wrote about this song on the BadCatRecords website when I first heard it:

Geez, how is it radio ignored this tune ?   Written by Crosby's son James Raymond  and featuring Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler on lead guitar, 'What's Broken' trashed the notion Crosby couldn't sing a commercial tune if his life depended on it.   Stunningly pretty and with support from Marcus Eaton, the layered harmonies were immaculate.  

Like me, if you thought Crosby's career was over when he pissed off long time partner Graham Nash (along with the rest of the CSN&Y family), this tune will quickly make it clear those sentiments were just plain wrong.  In fact, based on this tune and his three recent albums, Crosby has unexpectedly become the most productive member of the CSN&Y commune.  Sure, Neil Young has churned out far more albums over the last couple of years, but they can't match the quality and caliber of Crosby's recent releases.  And if you thought Crosby needed those guys to capture that unique sound ...  wrong.  This performance would easily give CSN&Y a run for their creative monies ...  Add in some sweet and thought provoking lyrics and this was one of those songs I just can't get out of my head.

You can hear the album version at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6fkt6raCDQ

The sound and video quality aren't great, but recorded at New York's The City Winery, YouTube has a January, 2014 performance of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXi_GU5TqBs 




Sunday, May 14, 2017

THE INDEPENDENTS - "LEAVING ME"

Leaving Me - Chuck Jackson - Marvin Yancy - 3:20    rating: **** stars



Busy at work and home so it's been awhile since I added anything to the blog.  This one was a track I came across on The Independent's "best of" collection - 1974's "Discs of Gold" (Wand catalog WDS 699).

I think Chuck Jackson handled lead vocals, but the song's mix of soul, pop, and Gospel moves didn't sound anything like the group's typical soul ballads.  Instead, the breezy, uplifting melody recalled a hybrid of Curtis Mayfield and The Staple Singers.  That's a wonderful thing in my book,  The tune was also tapped as a single:


- 1972's 'Leaving Me' b/w 'I Love You, Yes I Do' (Wand catalog number WND 11252)

For anyone who wants to hear the track, thank you YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwiy03oYV_U

Sunday, January 29, 2017

THE MONITORS - "SAVE YOURSELF A CUP OF HAPPINESS"

Save Yourself a Cup of Happiness   (James Dean - William Weatherspoon) - 2:19    rating: **** stars

Another highlight off 1968's "Greetings! We're the Monitors" album, 'Save Yourself a Cup of Happiness' was the kind of track that would instantaneously fill a dance floor.  One of the late Richard Street's most impressive performances with Warren Harris, Maurice and Sandra Fagin providing delectable backing vocals.  I'm guessing the stunning bass line was from James Jamerson.   

YouTube clip (warning the sound quality isn't great).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paMkMf8Y2c8

Saturday, January 28, 2017

GLENCOE - "AIRPORT"

Airport  (Graham Maitland - Reed) - 5:00  rating: **** stars


Too progressive to appeal to hard rock fans; too hard rock to appeal to progressive fans ...  Such was the fate for the short lived Glencoe.   'Airport' stands as a great example of how these guys simply fell in the early-'70s musical chasm between those different genres.  Shame since the song had everything you look for in a good tune - catchy melody; sweet vocals, nice arrangement, and even a sly little nod to The Beatles' 'Hey Bulldog'.  It was tapped as a UK single: 

- 1972's 'Airport' b/w 'It's' (Epic catalog number S EPC 1187)



YouTubeclip of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EVqyXlZonc