But working remotely, I haven’t listened to much Iron Maiden in the home office. Sometimes I do, but it’s not the go-to metal. Perhaps I rely a lot on my latest metal albums too heavily. I don’t even have any Iron Maiden on my gym playlist.
I should probably listen to some now. Care to join me?
This week’s Bleat by James Lileks has a banner image of a comely woman reclining on a scattered collection of LP covers (and, presumably, LPs, but it’s a drawing, so we’re actually assuming everything).
Last year, I did a couple of posts about the album covers hanging at Classic Rock Coffee and how many of the albums I have (I and II).
Last night’s triathlon class was brutal: We started with some hill running and then cooled off in the pool with some timed intervals. Let’s be honest: I have not improved in swimming in two years, and last night the swim about killed me. During drills, I focused on too many things and lost my breathing rhythm, which meant I breathed and swallowed a lot of air and a lot of water, both going to the wrong chambers in my torso.
But then, The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” came on the music piped into the pool.
Another fellow in the remedial swim lane has a strategy of walking most of the laps, and he was finishing a length of the pool not far behind me as I did whatever it is I do that is almost as fast as walking in water.
“I’m not going to drown and have the Spice Girls be the last words I hear,” I announced to him.
And I did not drown.
So consider me inspired by the Spice Girls.
Looking back on this blog, I see the other mention of the Spice Girls comes from 2005, where I boasted I could name them all even though I’d only listened to a complete Spice Girls song once. I think fourteen years later, I could go four out of five, maybe. Also, back in, what, 1997, I wrote about them in The Cynic Express’d.
I had to take a trip to Kansas City on the Ides of February, so I stopped by the library to check out a couple of audio courses to listen to on the way up and back (in a day–it was seven hours of driving for about an hour of work appointment).
Since I liked Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion, I picked up this course to supplement what I learned from the earlier course. All the way up and back, I swapped discs between this course and one on the Old Testament (that I’m still listening to, so don’t expect to see it any time soon).
But I didn’t like this course as much.
For starters, it begins (hem) with a couple courses on listening to jazz where the lecturer talks about the sounds of jazz, the elements (hem) and how they evolved, and the instructor illustrates a bit on the trumpet (his instrument). But then the bulk of the course is a name-checking of jazz musicians and who they played with de-coupled from the sounds of the jazz they’re making. For some reason, probably rights issues, the courses themselves do not have music samples inline to illustrate what the lecturer is saying. Instead, the course includes a two-CD collection of jazz that originally accompanied another book or textbook, and the lecturer refers to sample songs by track number, and the bulk of this course has no music in it whatsoever.
The lecturer’s presentation was a little flat and a little uninspired, too, especially compared to the enthusiasm and humor expressed by the lecturer in Elements of Jazz.
So the whole course pales in comparison. Perhaps it would seem better if it was the only course you listened to or if you listened to them in the opposite order. Or if this was your only dabbling in jazz lectures. Or if you wanted more of a history of jazz.
As this was a library edition, I had to hasten it back to the library before I read the guide book that came with it, so I don’t really get to count it as a book read this year. Much like, perhaps, The Count of Monte Cristo.
When I was at the university, I was a commuter, so most of my friendships developed with people outside the university. I drew a number of them from the grocery store where I worked in a transitional (on the way down) corner of town. Another guy named Brian started there a year or so after I did, and we got to be pretty good friends. We spent a lot of evenings together cruising the local mall or gaming together. We bought musical instruments together, a guitar for him and a bass guitar for me, and along with the third part of our triumvirate, we were going to be a band called Ghostriders.
Until he announced that he thought of the band as a back-up band for his Elvis impersonator show.
He was the young Elvis then, and although he got away from it for a while, he’s back at it, but he’s no longer the young Elvis.
It’s been like eight months since I posted about my musical balance, wherein I prove yet again that my musical taste runs in jazz songbirds and heavy metal.
Well, Brian J., you ask. How have you done over the Christmas season, where the One For You/One For Me protocol takes effect?
Well. Last Christmas, the One For You/One For Me protocol took place mostly at antique malls which don’t count in the arbitrary classifications that I made up for these posts (especially since they don’t fit into the schtick of these posts, but note that my album buying tends to be jazz or easy listening from the mid-twentieth century, R&B, and lately a little disco and 80s pop). So I’ve only bought fourteen CDs new in the last eight months (is that a lot?), and most of them have been the jazz songbirds. Reeling backwards through my Amazon order history, I see that I bought a bunch of metal in the late summer and early autumn and mostly jazz songbirds since.
Here’s what I’ve bought since last July:
Cindy Bradley Unscripted
Cindy Bradley Natural
Sara Gazarek Return to You
Erin Bode Little Garden
Erin Bode Be Still My Soul
Erin Bode A Cold December Night
Erin Bode Here and Now
Erin Bode The Little Garden
Natsumi Kiyoura Jyukuiro
Diamonte Coming In Hot
Unleash The Archers Time Stands Still
Unleash the Archers Apex
That’s eight jazz, one Japanese pop singer, and five metal CDs (three of which are bands fronted by women who might be metal songbirds if the concept were not so alien as to be almost incomprehensible).
I haven’t been listening to Spotify to find metal artists that sound similar to bands that I already like. I haven’t been hearing much new metal on the local hard rock station. That’s partly because I’ve been listening to audio courses or books like this one, and partly because Q102 hasn’t yet convinced me that I like Bring Me The Horizon.
Instead, I’ve been listening to the stream of WSIE a lot, and it has reminded me that I like Sara Gazarek and recently introduced me to Cindy Bradley who sounds a little like later Herb Alpert:
She might be the second prettiest trumpeter in the world. The first, unfortunately, is not on YouTube.
For my birthday, my beautiful wife got me a two CD collection of Angela Bofill’s greatest hits. As you know, I’ve been accumulating her records for a couple of years now, and she’s becoming one of my favorite R & B musicians if not one of my current musical crushes:
A couple years ago I picked up the Walter Murphy Band’s A Fifth of Beethoven based on the weight of the title song which also appears on the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever and because one of the guys I know made a gag about it. My favorite song from that album is actually “California Strut”:
The booklet that came with the Angela Bofill CDs points out that she provided the vocal tracks for that particular song.
Coincidence? Or a discerning ear?
Please, choose the option which reflects best upon your host.
But I typed “is everything alright i just called” into Bing, and it started auto-suggesting the next words, and the song is obviously (to the computers of the Internet) “Hearts” by Marty Balin:
Sometimes, this worldwide computer amazes me.
The song is from 1981, the year my parents’ marriage broke up. In my unreliable memory, we heard this song in heavy rotation on the way to and while at my grandfather’s cabin in the upper peninsula of Michigan not far from the Wisconsin state line. I relate a couple of different songs to that venue because the cabin had an old cathedral radio in it, and on rainy days we didn’t have much to do but listen to it and the hiss of rain outside. If I remember correctly, this must have been in the summer before the bottom dropped out.
The song sort of fits my mood. As some of you know, I just celebrated a birthday, and, if I make it to next January, I will have lived longer than my father did. So I’m ruminating and marinating in a blend of nostalgia and melancholia. The song and melody fit right in.
Because President’s Day was a holiday for only some of us, I took the boys out for the day so my beautiful wife could work in peace. We went bowling and to the (relatively) new Wonders of Wildlife museum and aquarium where I basically paid $50 to see a museum of things I try not to hit with my car.
To cap the day, we stopped at Relics Antique Mall to extend her worktime by another forty minutes or so.
I found the end cap where I’d spotted an unpriced Phoebe Snow album last year no longer had any albums, so I just picked through a couple bins on the middle row.
I spent less than $20 and got:
City Kids by Spyro Gyra. Now that I know they’re Buckwheat Zydeco, I’m picking their stuff up here and there.
Hero by Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band saxophonist. Apparently, the first song, “You’re a Friend of Mine” with Jackson Browne, was a hit, but I don’t remember it.
Quincy Jones Plays Hip Hits
Swing Along With Jonah Jones; he’s a jazz trumpeter who sounds like he might be trying to imitate Louis Armstrong a bit too strongly to stand out on his own. Still, it’s cool jazz. I saw another of his albums that I did not pick up this time, but I’ll look for it next time.
She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer. So now that we’re almost to forty years past disco and thirty some years past the Eighties Sound, apparently I think they’re old enough to buy on vinyl.
Hall of Fame featuring The McGuire Sisters and the De John Sisters.
It’s enough to keep my burgeoning record collection accumulation from seeming stale. For a couple of weeks.
Janet Evra is also from the Saint Louis area (which explains why I saw her mentioned on WSIE’s Facebook page). I expect to get her new album when I feel comfortable just ordering new CDs on a whim again. Or for my upcoming birthday, since I did spell her last name to my beautiful wife. I spelled Janet Evra‘ last name to my beautiful wife. Although I guess I did spell my last name to my beautiful wife at some point before I made her practice writing it over and over.
This would be a case of what Daddy always says, except my boys are past calling me Daddy, and this particular utterance only occurs in the very specific circumstance when someone asks Dad (as he is now known) what time it is at 4:30.
In this case, Dad always says, “4:30. It’s not late. Naw, naw, it’s just early, early, early.”
Because of a relatively minor hit for the Spin Doctors some 26 years ago, old man.
Well, I’m butchering an unrelated country song title, but I saw this meme on Facebook:
And I immediately thought about the song “The Bird” by Jerry Reed:
And I remembered when it was on the radio:
It was 1982. I was freshly ten years old; my parents were separated for probably a year. My mother listened to country and western on the radio when we lived in Milwaukee before shifting to oldies when we lived in St. Louis, which explains my listening habits as I grew up (I didn’t learn I could change the station on the radio and did not have a radio of my own until I was about thirteen, which explains why I was so pressed to think of a pop song as a favorite song on a questionnaire when I was chosen as Student of the Week in eighth grade and had to go with “Ghostbusters” as both my favorite song and movie). We spent a lot of time with the Odya boys, and I remember singing along with them when “The Bird” came on the radio.
I’m not sure I had heard the song between then and looking it up on YouTube to post as a comment on Facebook.
But now I have, and I feel all thirty-six years that have passed.
So yesterday morning, I needed to stop by the Ozark Treasures antique mall to pick up some jams and jellies for Christmas gifts (new ones, not antique ones–I hope). I also found a booth that had LPs for a dollar each, which explains why I took a flyer on this album:
The band is Saint Tropez. The album (five songs, so more of an EP), is Je T’aime. Here at Nogglestead, we were talking French the other night, and I tried out the French I know, including “Je t’aime” and “je t’adore,” which, coupled with “Parlez-vous français, “Après moi le déluge,” and the contents of Billy Joel’s “C’etait Toi” are all I know of the language (and I pronounce none of them right). So this looked like a good pickup for a dollar.
I didn’t open the foldout cover at the antique mall. The back cover is just the track list and credits in French, but the foldout cover (and, apparently, the back cover on the CD) is a little more titillating:
According to Discogs, there’s a story running through the group’s three studio albums about a woman who falls for another woman wanted by the Paris police and Interpol. The story was supposed to conclude on the fourth album, but that one never materialized.
Well, that’s curious, Brian J. But how does it sound?
The title track is a little breathy and moany:
But the other four tracks are more straightforward disco-y.
Which is weird. Suddenly, I’m buying disco records because I relate to them as easy listening from the 1970s.
Given that the other Saint Tropez records are mostly in English, this quite well might be the only French language disco record with a lesbian intrigue subplot that I ever hear. Unlike the best disco flute record I’ve ever heard, whose artist released other similar records (which are good, too, but not the best).
What other records did you get, Brian J.? you probably aren’t asking. Well, I got George Benson’s Give Me The Night, Vikki Carr’s For Once In My Life, Lou Rawls Come On In, Mister Blues, and Dionne Warwick’s Heartbreaker.
If anything, you’re asking What booth still has $1 R&B records?, and I’m not going to tell you.
On Friday afternoon, I led my reluctant boys out “Christmas shopping” to Relics Antique Mall mostly to get them out of my beautiful wife’s hair as she finished her work day.
Not surprisingly, this led to little actual Christmas shopping and a whole lot of record browsing. Which leads me to my first lamentation: The price of records at the antique mall is going up. Whereas the floor for album prices was a dollar, with a few going for five or eight bucks, now the floor is essentially three dollars with some titles of recognized bands from the 1970s or 1980s (or beyond) going for over ten dollars each. Which is a little rich for my blood. Which means I find it impossible to justify a stack of them such as I can with records that are only a buck.
Now, my second lamentation. The record I did not get? Phoebe Snow:
The first record I saw that I was excited about (the first I picked up was a two dollar Latin compilation album with a saucy woman on the cover). But the Phoebe Snow album…. Well, all right. I said in September that I was going to keep an eye out for this LP, and here it is!
Except: It had no price on it. No price tag that had fallen off that I could find. As it’s an antique mall, the people running the registers have no idea about the pricing set by the individual booth renters. This particular booth sold LPs for between two and ten bucks. I think I would pay ten bucks for the album, but I was not in the mood to take it to the registers and tell them I’d pay it; they’d think I’d taken off the tag which was priced higher yet.
So I set it on top of the record display, hoping that the owner of the booth will see it has no price tag and will price it (at $2, I hope) so I can pick it up in a week. When I will return to see if the album has been priced and I can buy it when I return for more “Christmas shopping.”
But I did console myself with a few other things.
Elvis’ Christmas Album by Elvis Presley. You hear a number of selections from this album on the radio from time to time, but he didn’t make it onto the compilation albums of the era.
The Beat of Brazil by Sergio Mendes.
Confetti by Sergio Mendes.
Homecooking by Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’77.
London Underground by Herbie Mann.
Voyeur by David Sanborn.
Straight to the Heart by David Sanborn. Jeez, button your shirt, brah. I almost needed to buy two albums with saucy women on them to compensate.
Too Tough by Angela Bofill.
Let Me Be The One by Angela Bofill. Compensation: Complete. Also, I like Angela Bofill, as you probably know if you read these posts all the way through.
Latin Escapade by The George Shearing Quintet, the aforementioned Latin compliation platter.
Okay, I’ve said the last was saucy. Here’s what I mean:
I don’t know whether my calling that saucy tracks with your idea of saucy or not, this being the Internet and all, but I do buy an extraordinary number of platters by artists/groups I don’t know/normally buy when they have a fetching lass on the cover. Or a saucy woman. Which must mean that the people who designed the cover art of said things were onto something.