Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ring the Bells!

Lay out the red carpet! Cut the cheese!

Herein the final portion of the P-man random ambivalence test (also known as my list of 100 albums which I own and about which I am blogging). Please, quit it with the heavy breathing, I am getting excited.

You know, when I began this list, I had no idea it would take this long or test my psychological reserves so severely. I am but a shade of my former self. I have paid a high price for my art... no, for the art of others, no, also wrong... in an effort to copy others! I have been lamed by my lameness. I am not yet a steady viewer of the so-called "reality" tv programs, however, so it could be worse. But enough about me. Except for the rest of this post, which is about me.

14. THE BAND (1969)
I say this not to offend: if there is such a creature as ‘roots rock’ (and I do not believe there is…) then this is my idea of the definitive recording of it. Of course, I am no ethnomusicologist. The lyrics and arrangements are of a piece. This album is canon. FS: Jemima Surrender

13. MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue (1959)
This is, I admit, a predictable selection.

That said, since purchasing this album things have really changed for me. For example, I am now employed. I owe it all to this album.

I will not belabour this but check out this lineup: Cannonball Adderly, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb and Wynton Kelly. (Spoiler: three of these musicians appear on this list’s #1… oh! What delicious tension!) They were given brief sketches of the pieces by the album’s namesake and filled in the rest. Priceless. (It was this album or Bitches Brew, by the way, not that it matters, unless you will accept this sad effort by the correspondent to appear ‘edgy’ and ‘youthful’ by late-1960s’ standards.) FS: Blue in Green

12. WILCO Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

Not “Being There”. Shorter. Funnier. Dare I say it? Better. FS: Pot Kettle Black

11. TAJ MAHAL & TOUMANI DIABATE Kulanjan (1999)
There is so much space in these tunes. These guys are so relaxed, soulful. This album was recorded on a back porch overlooking the sky. FS: Old Georgie Buck

10. DIRTBOMBS Ultraglide In Black (2002)
Do not pass go until you own this recording. More fun than something that you thought was really fun and way louder. This will be the first of three dual-drummer acts noted in the following entries. Try and spot the other two. Play at home! FS: Underdog

I am aware there is a genre, or was a genre, called “southern rock”, which appears to be a pejorative, designed to ascribe to its exponents the constellation of down-the-nose-isms available to the urban elite, or northerners (like people from Minneapolis, those blue-blooded snobs), and to tar bands like ABB with the same brush one would Lynyrd Skynyrd (does it matter if I spell that incorrectly?). Needless to say, when I hear this band described thus, it pisses me off. These guys were serious.

Any band that loved Coltrane and sought, as did he, to gain access to the spiritual through music is all right with me. I would like to rave about these guys, their grasp of dynamics, the fact they played like they meant every note, the immensity and maturity of their sound (esp. for what I understand to have been a bunch of shroom-munching young males, living communally, playing extemporaneously) but I fear I may appear impartial.

In an effort to forestall that occurrence, I will summarize as follows. 1: this is what rock is supposed to sound like. 2: Duane Allman was god (not EC, or Knopfler, or Hendrix, and so on. Duane. And it’s ‘god’, not ‘God’. God would not have died in a motorcycle accident and God would not let his brother marry Cher under any circumstances). 3: I’m sorry God. FS: Whippin’ Post (obviously)

8. METERS Keep On Struttin’ (1970)
I’m not going to say anything. Maybe something. Just a little. This album can make stiff-kneed white desk jockeys (well, this one) dance, happy and unafraid. Imagine what it can do for you. FS: Chicken Strut

7. OSIBISA (1970)
It is difficult to avoid describing these discs without resorting to the cliché of music genre. Andy Partridge may have been correct in saying it doesn’t matter what the label is, “This is pop.”

Nonetheless, in label-land, there is a genre, or 16, describing citizens of other nations, with their own musical lexicon, getting with the pop of the day. In the late 60s, early 70s, Carlos Santana was maybe the most noted exponent of this genre. I do not like him so much, so his only mention on this list shall be: Santana cannot be forgiven for working with a: that guy from REO Speedwagon Or Journey, whatever. The squeaky guy... "I'm Weening"), and b: that guy from Matchbox 20.

I purchased this album in the 80s, for 5 bucks, at a second-hand vinyl shop on Yonge Street. I liked the album cover, obsessed as I was with Roger Dean and matters Yes. Listening to this raw sweaty and visceral music helped reorganize my ear, so I could listen to music with my heart. FS: Phallus C

6. KING CRIMSON Discipline (1981)
I had to sneak out and buy this album so I could put it on the list. I have the components of it on the numerous KC cds littering my cabinet. They are legion. Every single lineup for the last 40-odd years.... Every fucking lineup… what was I thinking… This lineup, made up of stellar players, produced three albums. This was the first. In further identifying my (I am so lame) rock pantheon, Bill Bruford is god. This lineup made three records but the other two are not so good, or maybe you could even say, middling… bad. This one, however, is note perfect, note imperfect, brilliant.

I’d like to comment on the ability of this band to do, well, anything. One of the most incredible shows I have ever attended was this band at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 1984. However, since I do not understand what it was they did, I will spare you the effort. FS: Indiscipline

5. THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION Cruisin’ With Ruben & the Jets (1968)
I love Zappa. I get all googly-eyed listening to “We’re Only In It For the Money” or “Hot Rats”. What I like about this guy’s body of work is the social commentary, the contempt he displays towards many subjects worthy of contempt, the increasingly (especially after he fired this band) technical aspect of his compositions and the awesome bands he put together, but mostly, I love that he was funny. He made many a humourous lyric but this album kills me every time.

I can remember being plied with single malt and chronic as I kilted up for my wedding, listening to this album full of suicidal love-sick doo-wop tunes, and laughing my ass off. FS: Stuff Up the Cracks

4. NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Twin Cinema (2005)
I love me some pop. Pop ‘til you drop. I am a pop tart. I have no idea what Carl Newman is writing songs about but I don’t care. There are enough hooks in these songs to kill every fish on this planet. These are difficult songs played with assurance by pop-lords and -ladies. Kurt Dahle is my hero: his kit is comprised of like, 6 pieces, and he sounds like a drum chorus. FS: Star Bodies

3. XTC Drums & Wires (1979)
Fuck the Clash. These guys were way less self-serious, way less drunk. This is not the voice of reason, mind, I have all of XTC's records. I like this one best.

Fuck the Police too. FS: Roads Girdle the Globe

2. LOVE Forever Changes (1967)
I have listened to this recording more than any other (except maybe the Lego music box thingie e plays with, Frere Jacques, et al) in my so-called collection. Supposedly the death-letter of a young addict, this album captures the truth of the vaunted 1960s and makes albums like Sgt. Peppers, Surrealistic Pillow, or Their Satanic Majesties Request look like the shallow and crass bullshit that they are. And don’t get me started on the Moody Blues, with their goofy paean to Dr. Leary. Arthur Lee lived the dream and the nightmare, and here it is (well, some of it, anyway). RIP to Mr. Lee. FS: The Good Humor Man, He Sees Everything Like This

1. WES MONTGOMERY Full House (1962)
This album, along with #11, made it to the birth of both of our children. Of the two, this is the one Mo permitted be played in its entirety. I don’t know yet if baby a loves it like e or I but there must be an o or a u in there somewhere… I mean, I will give him time.

Extemporized music played with more talent, passion, and cool than ought be possible. The band behind Mr. Montgomery, present on #13, cooked. Johnny Griffin cooked. Wes cooked. Buy this album. You will be cooked. FS: S.O.S.

And now I must bid this exercise in self-revelation and self-absorption farewell. What have I learned through this exercise? Well I may ask. I have learned the following:

a) to buy some new cds;
b) I do not own any hip hop, rap, crunk, death metal, speed metal, hair metal, liquid metal, electronica, anologia or hat music;
c) when exercising option "a" I will not vary from "b", regardless of the consequences. I do not understand you kids and your crazy music, large pants, e-pods and whatnot. I am so old. So lame. Rejoice!


Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

What's hat music?

(Does that question mean that I'm old, too?)

9:07 a.m.  
Anonymous Jason said...

Been trying to put my finger on what it is that made ABB so great. Perfectly put, sir.

11:32 a.m.  
Blogger mo-wo said...

So I am so with you beloved on the top ten. Tho' funny I don't think many of the FS you have would be mine:

More like --
Dirtbombs: Qualified to Satified
Allman Brothers: Really, I prefer Eat a Peach but for this album I would give a big Uh-Huh to your pick
Meters: -- ok agreed here, too.
Osibisa: Should have been RaDio Free Vestibule just so folks get the 'not cooked' thing
King Crimson: I hate King Crimson because hey I have no taste - where, you, you have too much.
Zappa: Did I need to know this aspect of uselessness delivered by that useless team of groomsmen.. Ah, you know I only hate liking this album.. I'll pick Cheap Thrills which feel so fine.
New Pornographers: Streets of Fire and My street, dead heat
XTC: When you're near me
Love: Old Man
Wes: So I suppose useless groomsman #3 sorta redeemed himself by getting us this album. No one but WM could have brought together good music and show tunes more (b)rightly for us. We need that sort of help. Obviously, I've grown accustomed to her face. -- thank god you have.

A mammoth job of thought and writing. Thanks, hon'

11:33 p.m.  
Anonymous CroutonBoy said...

You make up for your Zappa inclusion (who I can't stand) with the Dirtbombs. Fuckin' great disk.

As expected, I scratch my head (Osibasa?) and applaud (New Pornographers). And I'm glad you opted for Kind of Blue over Bitches Brew...definitely the better of the two, and one of the three essential jazz disks all people must own.

Now I must go steal Wes Montgomery

11:42 a.m.  

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