As Though She Were A Normal Person

As you might know, gentle reader, I like to flip through the society pages of the local slick and browse through the equivalent gallery pages of the Springfield News-Leader because Springfield is a relatively small city, and I’ll often see someone I know attending some event.

So yesterday, I’m scrolling through the gallery of people attending a recent Alison Krauss concert, and there, just like she were a mere mortal, was Erin Bode.

That is jazz vocalist Erin Bode. I’m not sure the photographer from the News-Leader knows it.

I’ve seen her twice in concert. Once at a little club in Clayton called Finale where I dragged my beautiful wife on a date night sans our only son at the time. The other was at the Old Trees annual musical festival, where I walked up without the family to catch a bit of her set. I got her 2006 album Over and Over and listened to it, well, over and over in the office where I worked five flights above Washington Avenue.

Strangely enough, I don’t have any of her other albums. Which might mean that my musical purchase might become unbalanced in the coming months.

What A Difference Thirty Years Makes

In 1986, I might have been sympathetic to the youngsters’ point of view in this video:

Thirty years later, however, I’m reviewing the parents’ accused behavior to see what I can learn from it and apply it to my own children.

(Full disclosure: Even at fourteen years old, I thought this song was puerile and obnoxious. To be clear, I had what they might call an “old soul,” were they calling it an “old man’s soul” which I might have to this day, fixation on metal music and comic books not withstanding.)

A Perfectly Balanced Few Months

Not that you’re keeping track, but my musical purchases have, in fact, remained in balance the last few months. As I’ve pointed out (originally here), my music purchases tend to be two types of music: Jazz songbirds and heavy metal. Over the last year and a half, this balance has been remarkably consistent. Sometimes, the balance shifts if I hear more metal or more new jazz, but it always seems to return to equilibrium. At the end of March, I last provided an update on my music purchases.

Well, I’ve bought essentially ten albums since then (with some asterisks).

Here’s what I’ve gotten:

Forget the buying, you might say. How’s the balance in listening?

Well, to be honest, the metal songs by Leo get the heaviest rotation. They’re among the oldest selections on the list, and I burned them to CDs and listen to them in the car, so they get a lot of play then. I only just got the Jessy J album this weekend, and the Natsumi Kiyoura CD has yet to arrive. So it’s mostly Leo.

Internet Musical Taste Setters Strike Again

So I ordered an LP off of the Internet.

As you might know, a pretty woman singing in a foreign language falls into my songbird wheelhouse.

Where did I hear about this LP?

Dustbury. Again.

If you’re keeping track, Dustbury is responsible for my buying the following artists: Against the Current, Pier Angeli, Rebecca Black.

Blackfive: Danger Danger.

Kelley of Suburban Light, some years after the blog ended: Electric Six.

Unknown: Arctic Monkeys.

I am easily led.

A Trip to the Record Store, 1981

Tucked into a paper LP sleeve, I found a receipt from Waxie Maxie’s, which was apparently a record store chain on the east coast.

Before Christmas in 1981. Perhaps it was a Christmas gift. In my life, it was the first Christmas without my father in the house. I couldn’t tell you what I got–I know one year I expected an Atari because my mother hid one of the neighbor’s gifts in our basement so her son wouldn’t find it, and we found it, but we got Donkey Kong and Frogger tabletop electronic games instead, but that might have been 1982.

At any rate, this little sales slip has traveled quite a ways, as I bought the LP in which I found it in southwest Missouri. Also, the LP purchased that day was apparently Conway Twitty’s Heart and Soul, and I found it in Stargard’s self-titled debut album.

Well, the Internet is the place for floatsam like this, so here you go. When I complain about the cost of a $15 CD, remind me again of how much this LP would have cost in today’s dollars.

Transgenre Music

Jack Baruth led me to my newest musical obsession: Leo Moracchioli’s metal covers.

Baruth posted this cover of “Sultans of Swing” and talked about it at length on his blog, especially the payment scheme for using the material–or not:

I’m gonna tuck the rest of the post below the fold because it’s got a pile of embeds, and I don’t want to slow your browsing experience down if you’re just browsing. Continue reading “Transgenre Music”

Good Album Hunting, May 9, 2018: Ozarks Treasures Antique Mall

I had a couple of minutes to kill before picking my children up from school yesterday, and instead of going to Hooked on Books and spending a couple minutes browsing the dollar books, I went to a nearby antique mall to browse.

Which led to buying some records, and often for more than a dollar each.

I got four for a total of like ten bucks.

The list includes:

  • Just Sylvia by Sylvia because I get Internet celebrity when I buy Sylvia albums.
  • Another Place by Hiroshima. They must have had some sort of following here in Springfield, since their LPs show up from time to time. Since the band itself has been active from 1979 to now, I guess I’ll have to get some of their work on CDs.
  • Billy Preston & Syreeta, a collection of duets from the eponymous R&B singers.
  • Who’s Fooling Who by R&B group One Way (definitely not to be confused with One Direction).

Note that the last features a woman in lingerie on the phone:

This is not the first record in my collection with that motif:

You might think to yourself, “Brian sure buys a lot of records with pretty women on the cover,” and I’d like to remind you of what I said in 2013:

If “pretty woman on the cover” were the only criterion, though, I’d own a lot more Sylvia albums today.

<moment of self awareness>Oh.</moment of self awareness>

In my defense, my accummulation of records is reaching such a level that I can find numerous motifs in them.

For example, take the back side of the One Way album:

The two cigarettes and two wine glasses motif appears on other albums such as:

Jackie Gleason presents Music for Lovers Only and:

Music for Romancing, which also features a woman reclined.

What was my point? I am not sure I had one. Although I’m pretty sure I need to get to building the record shelves that I’ve been promising or threatening for over a year now.

(For more motif comparison in record covers, see this and this. I’m no LP Cover Lover, except that I am. And I can see the blooming things, unlike the thumbnails of the cover art one sees in computer-based music players.)

Good Album Hunting, April 25, 2018: Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

Friends, I hit the Friends of the Library Book Sale on the first day it opened this year within fifteen minutes of the big bell ringing. Except they don’t have a big bell.

It was busy, but not packed, and I made my way to the record section in the back, as is my wont. I discovered again to my dismay that the record section is shrinking–or at least the dollar section (there’s no telling what my lie in the Better Books section, but one of the things about my record accumulation is that I’d prefer not to pay over a dollar for a record. Which lends itself to buying some discs of ill use and hoping for the best.

The diminished selection probably means there will never again be a day of buying sixty albums at a shot. I did, however, optimistically buy seventeen.

I got:

  • Foreign Tongue by Taxxi. Clearly, this is the best album with two scantily clad women on horseback bearing crossbows that I own. Although you never can tell. I might own a couple like this.
  • Mad Love by Linda Ronstadt
  • Snapshot by Sylvia (all right, I yield! I will buy the Sylvia albums!)
  • Energy by the Pointer Sisters
  • Eydie Gorme’s Greatest Hits, most of which I already own on the original records. But I must be complete in my accumulation.
  • Handel: The Complete Flute Sonatas by Jean-Pierre Rampal
  • Love Is A Game Of Poker by Nelson Riddle. Although I have Linda Ronstadt and Nelson Riddle, not together. Although I already own the three records they did together anyway.
  • The Yakin’ Sax Man by Boots Randolph
  • To the Limit by Joan Armatrading. My beautiful wife mentioned having one of her records once. So I bought that one for her and now another.
  • Jackie Gleason Presents Music For Lovers Only. Do I already own this? It’s hard to tell because I already own so many, and Gleason put “For Lovers Only” in a lot of the record titles.
  • Give Me The Reason by Luther Vandross. The first record I spun; unfortunately, it skips a bit on the first song, so it might be time for a penny on the needle arm.
  • Rapture by Anita Baker. Clearly, I’ve moved into more R&B as I can find it since I’ve pretty much topped up my collection of swinging 60s music.
  • Jackie Gleason Presents Music For The Lonely Hours. For those without lovers only, perhaps.
  • Reach Out, Burt Bacharach, Burt Bacharach and Friends, and Burt Bacharach Plays His Greatest Hits. No, now my swinging sixties music collection is topped up. For now.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll go back for some actual, you know, books. And the more expensive, although half priced, LPs. And some CD courses, perhaps.

Un Homme Et Une Femme Et Un Homme Et Une Femme

It’s been a while since we had a “Who sang it better?” post here on MfBJN, and as I know I’m your most important source for old timey musical comparisons, I feel like I’ve been letting you down.

This morning, as I was spinning Rendezvous Mit Mireille, I heard Mireille Mathieu singing “Un Homme et Une Femme”:

Now, you might remember that Mireille is my favorite French singer.

Sacha Boutros covers the song on her album Simply Sacha:

Given the topic matter of the song, I prefer Boutros’ more intimate approach versus the European poppish rendition. It’s less performance and more confessional.

But what about Eydie? you long time reader (sadly, the singular is intentional–well, not intentional, but unfortunately accurate) might ask. Well, fortunately for Sacha, Eydie Gorme did not actually do this song (according to my thirty seconds of Internet research and years’ experience in playing Eydie Gorme records). She did do an English version with Steve Lawrence on the album A Man and a Woman, but, dude, it’s in English. Totally a different song. (Note this is not the only time I’ve invoked this technicality; see also Eydie vs. Herb: The Ultimate Head-to-Head Musical Throwdown.)

Wait Till Kim Du Toit Hears About Taylor Dayne

Kim has discovered Anastacia, and he likes her voice (and her looks) but not so much that she sings club/pop music.

As you know, gentle reader, I’m an Anastacia fan from way back, wherein “way back” means last year. Like Du Toit, I appreciate jazz and torch songbirds, but I don’t mind pop or dance that much as long as the singer has a good voice (see also Shakira.)

I heartily second his recommendation that she do a collection of torch/American songbook work. I actually said that somewhere once about Taylor Dayne, too, but apparently not within the search ability of this blog. So maybe it was on Facebook or something.

I mean, even Sinéad O’Connor released Am I Not Your Girl.

How’s Your Balance, Brian J.?

As you might recall, gentle reader, for the last part of a year, I’ve highlighted how my CD purchases tend to be balanced between heavy metal or hard rock bands and female jazz singers. (See here, here, and here.)

You might also wonder if the trend continues.

Indeed it does.

Here are the last ten CDs I got:

  • Everclear Ten Years Gone (Resulting in this parenting goal.)
  • Keiko Matsui The Ring
  • Keiko Matsui Sapphire (Who mentioned this artist? I don’t think she appeared on WSIE, but I’m not sure.)
  • 10 Years How To Live As Ghosts (The one bright spot on the Q102 playlist currently.)
  • Hard Loss Never Better (A St. Louis Blues loving group that an Internet friend likes–I got their EP.)
  • Testament New Order
  • Testament Brotherhood of the Snake (A middle school friend and member of the Legion of Metal Friends Facebook group posted some Testament; he was a little reluctant to post old stuff because he was sure we were already familiar with it. As I came to metal late, I was not, so I bought something old and something new.)
  • Sara Gazarek Yours
  • Sara Gazarek Blossom & Bee (WSIE played her, and she’s on the vocal spectrum near Sacha Boutros, so I picked up a couple of albums.)
  • New Noise #5 (I got this CD when I bought a copy of the new Metal Hammer magazine.

    You might be asking, “Did Brian J. buy the magazine for the CD because he is disappointed with what he’s hearing on the radio or because Floor Jansen is on the cover?” Yes.)

So I bought like ten CDs (well, nine the Hard Loss EP was a digital download) this quarter. You can tell when I’ve been working a full time contract for a couple of months as my CD expenditures go up. As do our trips to restaurants. Which, if I trim the latter expense, I can get more music. Depending upon the contents of the sampler CD and the new albums from Shaman’s Harvest and Pop Evil, I might need all the help I can get.

Top Three Hard Rock Musicians Who Look Like Dungeon Masters

These guys can rock, but they sure look like they’d be more comfortable on the other side of the screens, drinking Mountain Dew right out of the two liter bottle and rolling dice on a Saturday night.

#3: Geddy Lee.

He’s a little older now, but so are pretty much all the Dungeons and Dragons players. Kids these days are into the MMORPGs and mobile games, I think.

#2: Jonny Hawkins of Nothing More.

Of course, at the first sign of orcs, he’d tear off his shirt to make the rest of the gaming group feel bad about their sunken chests. And he’d be sure there you would encounter orcs early just so he could.

#1: Dave Mustaine.

I mean, come on.

He even sounds like a Dungeon Master.

36 Years Later, Brian J. Gets It

So the local Jack station (a radio format term as dated as Adult Contemporary or Album Oriented Rock by now) plays old American Top 40 radio programs on Sunday morning, so I get a chance to catch old songs that don’t get a lot of radio play now.

When Bertie Higgins’ “Key Largo” came on, I thought, not actually featured in the film Key Largo.

And then it struck me: He is singing about the movie Key Largo. I hadn’t known that when I heard the song previously.

I mean, when he sang about Bogie and Bacall, I thought about them in the context that I’d known them at the time I heard the song: From the film The Big Sleep and as a married couple. I didn’t see Key Largo until much later.

So all this time, I thought Bertie just wanted to sail to Key Largo, and that he was watching old movies like The Big Sleep with the woman in the song.

How daft I am.

Fun fact: I’ve actually seen Key Largo twice in recent years (meaning within the last, what, decade?). The first by myself and the second with my beautiful wife as I’ve tried to convince her share in my enjoyment of old movies. So we’ve watched two together, the other being His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.

WSIE Will Not Let Me Forget Al Jarreau

Dustbury has a post about the theme song from The Bob Newhart Show that appeared in a longer form on an album; playing off of another user’s comment, I gave a partial list of television theme songs that charted, including the obligatory John Sebastian, Mike Post, and Henry Mancini numbers.

Then, after I submitted the comments, the livestream of WSIE played “Moonlighting” by Al Jarreau. The theme from the show of the same name, which charted in 1988 and garnered two Grammy nominations.

Relax, WSIE. I could not forget Al Jarreau. He is from Milwaukee, after all, so we’re practically related.

Thesis: Refuted

You know, sometimes, when listening to a contemporary pop song on the radio, I will tell my boys that the latest Chainsmokers or Shawn Mendes ditty is a vapid collection of unconnected lyrics, drum machine beats, and canned musical chords. Unlike the songs that I grew up with, which were one harp or viola short of being a symphony, dammit.

Then this came on the radio yesterday:

Never mind.

Scandinavian Teens Circa 1965

As I mentioned, I picked up a Scandinavian gospel album from a band called the Teen Tones. The album itself is called, simply, From Scandinavia.

My Internet research doesn’t give it a specific year. Discogs recognizes the album but doesn’t give it a release year. The back of the record says the band formed in 1962 and has gotten popular because they could play in clubs and evangelize to the kids dancing the Frug. Or something.

But take a look at those “teens”:

Are those really teens? I suppose they could have Dominican birth certificates attesting to it. Or a couple of years have passed (remember, the Swedish Gospel Singers released their album Take a Little Time To Sing in 1966, so it’s fair to guess that this album came out right around that time. So it’s feasible that these “kids” were actually over 20 by the time the record came out.

But look at them. They look so much older than that. I figure they’ve got these things going for them to make them look older:

  • They’re dressed like adults, unlike twenty year olds from today.
  • They’re dressed like our grandparents looked (or your great grandparents if you’re under 20) in old photographs.
  • They’re Europeans, who tend to look older than Americans anyway.
  • Also, they’re not twenty year olds from today, who tend to look younger than their counterparts ha’centuries ago. This is not just dress (See the first bullet point above), but also in skin and general health. Better nutrition, I guess.

Does it matter? Not really. Did they take the world by storm? Apparently not. It’s a pleasant record for a Sunday morning, though. That’s about the state of all my records: They’re pleasant to listen to as background music.

Also, note that the album’s label, Word Records, was associated with A&M Records for a long time and remains a going concern with a lot of contemporary gospel acts. Also note that my research has lead me to a Web site called On A&M Records that is apparently not affiliated with the label but has an extensive history of the label, including year by year recaps from 1962 until today and bios on lots of its recording artists. So the rest of my Sunday is spoken for.

The Song Can’t Remember When

The song “What’s Up?” by 4 Non-Blondes starts:

Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
for a destination

I don’t want to make you feel old, old man, but that song itself is twenty-five years old.

The album was from 1992, but the single was released in 1993, so lie to yourself if you have to.

Me, I got the song. On a cassette single. Twenty-four years ago.

The Forgettable Poco

You know, the band Poco.

Okay, you don’t. But I do.

While listening to a Richard Marx song (“Satisfied”) in the car, I mentioned to my beautiful wife that I saw him twice on the tour for his album Repeat Offender: Once at Summerfest in Milwaukee, and once at the old Arena in St. Louis (I won tickets in a radio contest on Y98, and the journey to pick them up is a story in itself).

She was impressed that I’d been to the Old Barn before it was destroyed and the St. Louis Blues moved downtown. I mentioned Poco opened for him, and that I heard them do “Take It To The Limit”, so I thought that was their big song (it would be about a year until I learned that was originally an Eagles song–Was I young once and ignorant of both St. Louis topography and the hits of the Eagles?)

So I told her they did that one song, and the song eluded me. Poco does not get any airplay on the radio these days (but they’re apparently still a going concern). I knew Poco was around in the 1970s, so I wracked my brain trying to think of an Eagles-sounding California country rock song that was big and was Poco’s.

But I couldn’t think of it, so I researched.

And that one song I was probably thinking of was the Poco song that was a hit around that time (1989): “Call It Love”

You know, I would have probably known that song in 1989, but the years have stripped it from my memory. I mean, I can kind of remember it when I watch the video, but aside from that. But Poco was an old band from the 1970s staging a comeback in the 1980s, man. (Kind of like the Doobie Brothers with The Doctor“.)

Meanwhile, 30 years in the future, what gets played on the radio? Bands from the 1970s and the 1980s, but only a subset from across the years, so songs like this and many others hide out in the dark corners of our mind. And brightly on YouTube, when we think of them. And, I suppose, at the lesser stages of Summerfest and other fairs throughout the land, but my children do not yet have the patience to listen to the music when there are games, rides, or cotton candy to be begged for.

You Find Electric Six In The Darndest Places

So I’m watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the original film from 2010, and they play some Electric Six:

That’s “Danger! High Voltage” from the album Fire. Here’s the official video for the song, which is a bit racy. You should probably not watch it at work OR IF YOU ARE ACTUALLY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, SON.

I have to be mindful that my children have started to read this blog and strive to keep it family-friendlier than normal.

What’s next? Gwar or Steel Panther in a Disney film?

I have “Rip It” from the album on my iPod. I used to joke that it was the only Electric Six song without swearing in it, but we can all see now that I exaggerate for humorous effect.

Hat tip, sort of, to Kelley of the former Suburban Blight blog, who introduced me to the band via a Facebook post of this very song.