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.

The Fad of Pop Stars Going Country

You know what I mean. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith cut a country album. Jewel cut a country album. The trend was so prevalent that Alan Jackson wrote a song (Gone Country).

But it’s not a recent thing. Dean Martin did it before it was cool, and when Dean Martin did it, it became cool.

A sample:

To be honest, not among my favorite Dean Martin discs.

My favorite, of course, is You Can’t Love ‘Em All:

Strangely, “favorite” does align with “the first record I got by” as it often does.

The Radio Shuffle Leaves Brian J. Without Hard Rock

Is it time for radio stations to alter their play lists already?

Apparently so, for the “rock” stations in Springfield have changed their formats to chase the local “Jack” station.

So 106 “The River” in Springfield, the local “Jack” station, or whatever they call the variety format that plays a couple dozen hits from the 80s, a couple dozen hits from the 90s, and six or ten songs from after the turn of the century, has shifted its playlist to include Led Zepplin and AC/DC.

So 104 “The Cave,” a classic hits (what we used to call Album Oriented Rock back in the day) determined it needed to compete with that format by playing M0AR POWER BALLADS.

The rock station that played new hard rock and metal, Q102, decided what it needed was alternative music from the 1990s. Friends, most of the rock music from the 1990s sucked. Sorry, but you know it’s true. Grunge corrupted everything it touched, and emogoth really loud is not rock.

US 97, which touts its long-standing rock heritage and pedigree dating all the way back to the Clinton administration, has added some newer songs but has also added more 90s rock and power ballads.

I mean, I heard Green Day’s “Basket Case” twice yesterday, on two different radio stations.

And by that I mean I heard the first two lines (“Do you have the time/to listen to me whine?”) before changing the radio station. Attention, millennial radio program directors: THIS IS NOT ROCK.

I used to be Green Day agnostic. But a couple more spins of this in the near term, and I’ll hate Green Day.

Which leaves poor Brian J. with nowhere to turn to hear new rock. What, YouTube? I’m an adult. I don’t have time to wander around YouTube. Spotify? Meh. Make a radio station on one of your favorite bands, and it will play you songs from four or five other bands. Which will be the same bands pretty much no matter what I pick.

I miss the good old radio days of 2017.

Parenting Goal

I don’t want my children to understand the music of Everclear.

My parents split up on October 25, 1981, when I was nine years old. My father pulled me away from a television movie (Twirl) to sit my brother and I down into what was up until that moment my parents’ bedroom and to tell us that my mother had thrown him out. So, yeah, I have known the joy of a welfare Christmas.

Both of my children are already older than that, so I’m already ahead.

That being said, I just picked up an oldies collection: Everclear’s Ten Years Gone: The Best of Everclear 1994-2004. I’m not sure that you can really call Everclear hard rock or metal, so I’m not sure how it affects the balance of my music purchasing.

Preemption: FAILED

So I received the physical CD of Rebecca Black’s CD RE/BL, delayed because she was in Italy or something.

So I announced to my beautiful wife that it arrived:

ME: I got the Rebecca Black CD.
SHE: Who’s that?
ME:: She’s a pop singer that Charles Hill is really high on. She was a viral sensation. She went to a song factory or something that gave her a simple song, made a video for it, and put it on YouTube, and a lot of people hated it. “Friday”.
SHE: I’ve heard of that.
ME: It’s one of those where you’re buying it right from the artist….
SHE: Hang on, I’m going to put this [receipt? Piece of mail? I forget, but it was not the CD in question.] in your office.

A couple minutes later:

ME: …As I was saying, since I bought the Rebecca Black CD directly from her, she sent a little postcard with it.
SHE: I saw that.

Said card was still on my desk. Of course she had seen it.

My now black belt wife did not threaten the card. This time.

Something I Never Imagined Myself Saying

Overheard the other night at Nogglestead:

This is the best disco flute album I’ve ever heard!

I am referring to Herbie Mann’s Super Mann.

I’ve got a couple of Herbie Mann’s more straightforward jazz, but this disc, which I picked up for $.99 this weekend, is a singularity of sorts. It has attained an infinity of 1978 coolness.

Here’s a taste–“Jisco Dazz”:

I defy you to find anything better, or anything that does not appear on the soundtrack to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that comes close.

Balance Has Returned To The Music Library

Well, perhaps it’s not the music library and more the recent purchases.

As I’ve mentioned, my music purchases tend to fall into two camps: Heavy metal and female jazz vocalists.

However, the I recently noted that I’d bought a run of metal:

  • Danger Danger Return of the Great Guildersleeves
  • Fozzy Judas
  • Danger Danger Danger Danger
  • Disturbed Indestructible
  • Hellyeah Unden!able
  • Herb Alpert Music Volume 1
  • Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey Music from the Motion Picture
  • All That Remains A War You Cannot Win
  • Ozzy Osbourne No More Tears
  • Sacha Boutros Live from Hawaii

Well, I recently bought a run of jazz and pop:

  • Anna Danes, Find Your Wings

    She, like Sacha Boutros, is based in San Diego, which means clearly San Diego is a hotbed of jazz divas.

     

  • Lauren Meccia, In Your Eyes

    I have joined the 21st century and have installed Spotify to get introduced to a few more musicians akin to those I already like, so I’ve used it to discover the aforementioned Anna Danes and this artist.
     

  • Anastacia, Heavy Rotation

    I already had Freak of Nature based on a friend’s Facebook post. (Another good source of new music: Facebook. Also, old music, like the aforementioned Danger Danger.)

     

  • Rebecca Black, RE/BL

     
    Hey, this salesman won’t take no for an answer.
     

I also bought the new Imagine Dragons CD, Evolve, but it really doesn’t fit into the two categories listed above.

So clearly I am due to go on a tear and buy a number of new metal CDs. Perhaps the new Rudyard disc.