1001 Albums: Truth

#128

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Artist: Jeff Beck

Album: Truth

Year: 1968

Length: 40:16

Genre: Blues Rock / Hard Rock

“Soon I hope that I will find,
Thoughts deep within my mind.
That won’t displace my kind.”

What is Truth Jeff Beck? What is THE Truth? Does Truth even exist? I don’t know how it was in the late 60s but now in the good year of 2018, truth seems to be a non-existent thing. We live in a world where dishonesty, manipulation and keeping secrets seems to be what’s encouraged, tolerated and enabled. People are in a constant state of justifying their lies and dishonesty, coming up with non-stop excuses as to why they did that, why they were like that. No one takes responsibility for their actions any more and it’s baffling to see why people would go through the struggle of doing this when it’s so much easier to just tell the truth, mainly because then you don’t have to worry about what you’re saying any more, if your story is still working and if you tell the truth, you never have to worry about remembering things any more. But people don’t. It’s baffling how people say they want true honesty but turn around and act like completely dishonest people. “But I’m scared to hurt you, The truth might destroy you”. Continuous bullshit you hear from these people who find justified reasons as to why they lied to you because they can’t admit to themselves that it was shitty to be dishonest. Honesty is honestly the lost virtue, and the handful of people who still practice it are for some reason called the assholes. But they only are because the bullshitters don’t like when they get called on their bullshit so they find it easy to just call the honest person an asshole, which is irony at it’s best because in reality, they’re the actual asshole. But as we all know society is ass-backwards on a lot of things, and honesty is one of them.

I digress, why did I go on a tangent about this? This literally has nothing to do with Jeff Beck’s first debut solo album that is considered a seminal piece of hard rock and heavy metal. Can you believe he infused blues rock with Hard Rock sounds?? Un – Be – Lie – Va – Ble. Jeff Beck shows off his guitar skills on this 40 minute cover album, where he cranks out solo after solo, riff after riff on a plethora of songs that he apparently has zero writing credits on (Not even the one with his name on it “Beck’s Bolero”, which has the writing credit going to Jimmy Page). Heck, we’re even introduced to the vocal stylings of none other than Rod Stewart himself, the man who asked the world that if you think he’s sexy and you like his body then come on sugar tell him so. TELL HIM! What an album this is, truly remarkable. The one sentiment I get from it is:

Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

An album that’s considered such a seminal piece of work just didn’t really do it for me (which I guess isn’t that surprising based on my history with these types of albums). I just didn’t feel engaged with the music, it didn’t resonate in anyway with me and didn’t leave a lasting effect or mark. Jeff Beck’s guitar work, as usual, is really good and I will say I loved it, but not enough to walk away from it all going “Damn what fine piece of album”. For a debut solo I was expecting more than just a bunch of covers. It would have been nice to see Jeff Beck shine as a songwriter than just a guitar player, we know he can play guitar and play it well, but can he write? That’s the real question I want answered and I’m sure he can, he is considered one of the guitar gods, so why waste his time doing covers? This is the late 60s, not the 50s where everyone was essentially covering each other. Even Elvis took the time to write new material and his own stuff, so Jeff Beck could have done that too.

I have nothing against covers, especially when done well. A good cover is when an artist or group adds their own flavour to it, repurposes it their own way and creates something new from it. I hate covers that essentially sound exactly like the original, like the band didn’t even try to do something new with it, what’s the point at that point? If you want to play song you love live, then by all means do it but don’t record it and package it as something on your album when you don’t even take the time to add anything to it. (Hot damn, hot take). Thankfully Jeff Beck is original enough to add his own flair to the music he’s creating so it doesn’t fall flat or boring, I just wish he took the time to write original material… that’s all.

I mean, that’s not too much to ask from one of the greats right? He can do it, I believe in him. I really hope he has another album on this list that can show that off and maybe I won’t be as disappointed second time around. I like Jeff Beck and just want what’s best for him.

Song of Choice: Beck’s Bolero

-Bosco

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1001 Albums: Cheap Thrills

#120

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Artist: Big Brother and the Holding Company

Album: Cheap Thrills

Year: 1968

Length: 37: 11

Genre: Blues Rock / Acid Rock

” Ah, I’m a mean, mean woman
And I don’t mean no one man, no good, no
I’m a mean, mean woman
I don’t mean no one man, no good
I just treats them like I wants to
I never treats them, honey like I should”

I’ve been an absolute busy bee. I listened to this album about two weeks ago and hadn’t found the time to actually sit down and crank one of these out. SO bear with me my memory might not be the greatest as I sit to write about Cheap Thrills right now. But to be fair, since I completed school I’ve been working full weeks, two days at an internship with a film company (doing photoshop… of course!) and three days teaching dance (yes dance) to elementary school students in the GTA (Grand Toronto Area). Full eight hour days don’t lend themselves to having much time to write and by the time I get home I’m burnt out and ready to sleep. But! In the best way possible because it’s a very satisfying burn out and not an anxiety burn out, which is great because that means my mood has turned around.

I have to say I loved this album much more than I expected. The only song I knew before listening was Ball and Chain, so I went in expecting a full album of that. It’s a great song but I didn’t expect the album to be as high energy as it was and as fantastic as it was. Ball and Chain was never a song I was really into, I recognized it as great but felt meh about it. I’m happy that listening to the album has turned it all around for me. This album was considered one of the heights of blues rock music and I can’t deny that at all. The entire band seems to come together seamlessly with Janis Joplin’s famous vocal stylings over the top of smooth instrumentals just makes the entire experience a great one.

What threw me off at first was the addition of crowd noises throughout the album. I was sure it wasn’t a live album and lo and behold it sounded like one. The crowd noises were added in post to give the illusion that it was a live album and I have to say they did a great job at incorporating those sounds perfectly because they sound like they’re performing for an audience. The goal of the album seemed to be to capture their energy from their on stage performances and if that’s the case than I have to say they definitely succeeded because it felt like a high-energy live performance as each and every member gave it their all throughout the entire album. There is nary a bad moment on this album and it’s solid from start to finish. I have heard people constantly talk about this album in the past and was always hesitant to give it a listen, expecting a psychedelic album I wouldn’t really enjoy, but now I wish I had heard it earlier because it truly is an amazing piece of work. And a breath of fresh air, after listening to way too many psychedelic albums it was nice to hear some blues rock again.

How can I go on without talking about the album cover? It’s one of the most iconic album covers in music history and designed by the most famous underground cartoonist ever: Robert Crumb. His dirty, raw drawing style lends itself so well to not only the aesthetic of the album but the ideas behind it. The album is called Cheap Thrills after all, only makes sense to get Robert Crumb to design some crude album cover for you. But the story behind the album cover doesn’t start there. Before getting the artwork of Mr. Crumb, the band wanted the cover to be them naked in a bed. Surprise, surprise, Columbia Records vetoed it. I always love reading about album cover controversies from the 60s, they seem so ridiculous especially when you fast-forward to the 80s and later and there’s some pretty ridiculous covers that were allowed to be released with zero controversy. It’s fascinating to see what the boards accepted and didn’t accept back in the days and seeing the differences of what was considered controversial. An album cover with a band naked in a bed today would go unnoticed easily. The funny thing is Robert Crumb even refused to be paid by Columbia Records for his artwork not wanting their “filthy Lucre”. A true underground artist if I’ve ever seen one. And continuing with the controversy, Columbia Records even refused the original album title which was going to be Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills. Gee, I wonder why… to it’s credit though, Cheap Thrills is a much better sounding name and rolls off the tongue much quicker and because of the shortening it became a much more iconic album than it would have with the original name.

I believe at least…

This definitely ranks high in my favourite albums I’ve heard so far and I think a lot of that comes from how pleasantly surprised I was with the whole thing. I should have listened to all those people all those years ago and grabbed me a copy of Cheap Thrills when I had the chance. I wonder if this is the end of the Blues Rock era on this list. If it is than it definitely ended with a high and I wouldn’t be sad or disappointed to know this is the last (although chances are there is another one and it probably won’t be as good as this, but oh well).

Song of Choice: Combination of the Two

-Bosco

 

 

 

 

1001 Albums: Electric Ladyland

#113

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Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Album: Electric Ladyland

Year: 1968

Length: 75:47

Genre: Psychedelic Rock / Hard Rock / Blues Rock

“Well, I make love to you
And Lord knows you’ll feel no pain
Say, I make love to you in your sleep
And Lord knows you felt no pain
(Have mercy)
Because I’m a million miles away
And at the same time I’m right here in your picture frame
(Yeah! What did I say now?)”

Here we are. Back to Jimi Hendrix. That would be three Jimi Hendrix albums in the span of roughly 13 album, they come at you quickly. It would also be the third and final album of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, marking this one as the final in a trilogy of sorts. And just like any finale, it’s bigger, bolder and more monstrous than it’s predecessors. It hits you in the head and knocks you out. A grand slam of finales. An explosion of music and fireworks to mark the end of a legacy that will live on forever.

If you hadn’t guessed by my last paragraph there, I really liked Electric Ladyland. I felt they had stepped it up from what I felt was a rather meh second album that I just didn’t engage with and went back to their first album with some hard rocking riffs, his famous guitar sound and some added layers to add that extra oomph the two other albums were missing. Clocking in at almost 76 minutes, which I was shocked to find out because it honestly did not feel that long and I felt like I zoomed through the album (which just proves how it sucks you in very well), it is quite the impressive musical feat. Jimi Hendrix would be both producer and director on this album for the first time having complete control and the album really shows off his perfectionist attitude to perfection as everything here sounds like it was meticulously crafted from start to finish. He was also notorious for doing multiple takes until they got it absolutely right and it really paid off here.

I’ll be honest, the first two songs made me nervous. They gave me flashbacks to Axis: Bold As Love and I was worried I’d have the same exact experience from that one. But once Crosstown Traffic hit, my attitude changed and I’m happy to say the rest of the album was really one hell of a great experience from there (one would even say it was a… Jimi Hendrix… Experience… HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA……ha). Voodoo Chile, which I always thought was called voodoo child and I kept reading it as Voodoo Chili (which to me sound deliciously spicy), is the longest song and despite going on and on it rocks hard enough to keep you going for it’s entire 15 minute length of time. And oh! Did you know Steve Winwood, my very own personal firetruck, has a guest appearance on it as the organ player? In fact, a ton of musicians had guest appearances on this album. It was said that the studio would end up so crowded with all these guests that it felt more like a party than a recording session. It would get so crowded that it was hard to move around. I don’t know about you but a bunch of top notch musicians creating some great music together sounds like one hell of a party to me. Sign me up anyday.

Electric Ladyland is also part of the ever growing list of albums that had controversial covers. I’m not talking about the one you see up there, which is completely harmless as far as covers go (unless you’re really disturbed by the fact he’s red and yellow and that doesn’t look like people! OH MY GOD!) but I’m talking about THE cover that had record stores ban this album or even sell it inside out as not to disturb the young, innocent eyes of everyone who enters. If you’re familiar with it than you know what I’m talking about. The famous nude women cover that look like this:

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To be honest, this one at least makes more sense than the album covers that were considered controversial because they had a picture of a toilet on it. God forbid we see a god damn toilet. Apparently, Jimi Hendrix hated this cover and wanted it to be something completely different (he also hated the cover for Axis: Bold as Love but realistically he’s also a perfectionist so he was probably never happy anyway). This is nowhere as near to being like the famous Penis Landscape controversy from the Dead Kennedy’s album Frankenchrist, but I can easily see people having a hard time dealing with a cover like this back in 1968. Times are defintiely different now. Although it’s debatable if as a society we’ve become more prudish or desensitised to this kind of imagery, especially if it was sold out in the open, but with an argument for it being “art” who knows. I am curious to know what would have occurred if this came out in 2018 with this cover and what debates and conversations it would spark. But that’s not for me to start, just to wonder.

What else can be said of this behemoth of a double rock LP that hasn’t already been said? I can’t really personally add anything new to the table but I will share that it was a fantastic album that I thoroughly enjoyed and was happy that My Jimi Hendrix Experience (teehee) ended on this high note. If I had listened to the albums like I used to (meaning one a day) I probably could have sense a bigger journey form their first to here. Heck, I could always just listen to all three back to back and who knows, maybe Axis: Bold as Love will finally make sense to me. I really do feel there is a story to be told musically by listening to all three back-to-back, especially as you watch the evolution and growth of the band through each one. One day I might just do that, but for now I’ll leave with the happy memory that was me enjoying this four-sided beast of an album.

Song of Choice: Crosstown Traffic

-Bosco

 

 

1001 Albums: Traffic

#108

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Artist: Traffic

Album: Traffic

Year: 1968

Length: 40:24

Genre: Blues Rock / Folk Rock

“Seems I got to have a change of scene
‘Cause every night I have the strangest dreams
Imprisoned by the way it could have been
Left here on my own or so it seems
I got to leave before I start to scream
But someone’s locked the door and took the key

You feelin’ alright?
I’m not feelin’ too good myself
Well, you feelin’ alright?
I’m not feelin’ too good myself”

Steve Winwood! Steve Winwood! Steve Winwood! Steve Winwood! STEVE WINWOOD!

Steve Winwood is my firetruck.

I know you absolutely no idea what that means and nope, I will not explain it to you. That’s my own special thing that I will keep to myself. And YOOOOOOOOOOU can’t do anything about it.

I’ve always been a fan of Traffic ever since I heard their song Paper Sun in my famous psychedelic music class. It’s also the only song I really ever heard by them (That and 40,00 headmen which is on this album), but I really liked it. SO I guess you could say I’m a pretty hardcore fan. One song is more than enough to know to be a fan. Right? RIGHT?!?!?!

I always liked Steve Winwood’s solo stuff even though the only song I really know is Valerie. I used to date a girl with that name and annoy her with that song. It was funny. So you know you can say Steve Winwood has really played a massive role in my life in many, many ways.

I listened to this album twice because I loved it so much, and not because I was doing the dishes the first time around and didn’t really hear the music that much because of the running water and felt it necessary to take a second listen to. No sirree, not at all. You better believe it.

In all fairness, I actually reall did love this album. It was the first time I got to listen to an entire album’s worth of Traffic music and I was very pleased with the journey it took me on. The biggest thing for me was how well it flowed from one song to another. Even with varying tunes, it managed to create seamless transitions form song to song where sometimes I didn’t even know if a new song started or not. I had to check to make sure. And despite it 40 minute length, it never felt that long. When the final song has come to an end I felt disappointed there wasn’t more. Maybe it’s because the final song didn’t really feel like a final song and didn’t give the album closure, but maybe it’s also because it was just a great listen that left you wanting more. Whichever is the truth is up to interpretation.

It’s always great when an album starts off with the band asking you to join them and sing along. Like they’re taking your hand and bringing you on a journey. They definitely sucked me in like that and boy was it a journey. I couldn’t tell if it was a happy or sad one though, for the most part the music seemed rather upbeat but lyrically I was getting some pretty depressing narratives. I always love that blend of cheery sadness in music and Traffic seemed to pull it off quite well. It left a sadness in my heart but a bounce in my step, which left me confused emotionally but pleasantly so. I mean where else are you gonna hear a song about a 13 year old homeless girl who gives herself up really easily to a fun beat? Probably lot’s of places (Zappa’s Teenage Prostitute comes to mind) but here it just fits the over-arcing vibe of the album. The song Feelin’ Alright resonated with me personally and as usual with these kinds of things, felt like it was putting into words certain emotions I was going through. it’s always nice to find something like that.

With a nice blend of pop tunes and more complex arrangements, the band seems to be really tight here, working together to support each other. There’s some fantastic flute solos here and there and some great organ sounds at points that add texture to the music. If this is folk rock, then it’s exactly the kind of folk rock I would love to hear more of and thankfully Traffic and Steve Winwood appear more on this list, so I will definitely be looking forward to that.

Song of Choice: Feelin’ Alright?

-Bosco

 

 

 

1001 Albums: Disraeli Gears

#88

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Artist: Cream

Album: Disraeli Gears

Year: 1967

Length: 33:37

Genre: Psychedelic Rock / Blues Rock

“It’s getting near dawn,
When lights close their tired eyes
I’ll soon be with you my love,
To give you my dawn surprise
I’ll be with you darling soon,
I’ll be with you when the stars start falling”

My mood’s been kind of weird these days, hitting a bit of a down. Not going to go into details so I’m going to try my best to stick to talking about Cream.

Cream was a nice little treat for my otherwise crappy day. I already knew their big hit “Sunshine of my Love’ thanks to Guitar Hero and just… you know life in general. It’s a pretty big song for them, hard not to have heard it at all unless you’ve been living under a rock. I actually didn’t expect it to suddenly come on… I mean I should have, but I didn’t look ahead or even think about it in general, so when it came on I definitely got excited. You know the type of excitement when ¬†a song you know plays and you’re all like “Hey I know that song! I KNOW IT! EVERYONE I HAVE HEARD THIS SONG!!!!!!! HEY!!!! HEEEEYYYYY!!!!!” I was alone so screaming that out didn’t really have much purpose or effect in general.

As much as the band was trying to get away from their blues rock roots, they still managed to incorporate it with their new psychedelic sound they were aiming for, ¬†creating a nice blend of both styles. Was nice to hear Eric Clapton again after hearing him on The Bluesbreakers album. I should have know it was him just based on the sound of the guitar work, which is very much his own sound, but I never caught on it seems. To be honest I should have just known he played on Cream in general because that’s just general music knowledge but whatever we all have brain farts once in awhile. My point is, it was nice to hear him play again. I know a lot of people aren’t crazy about Eric Clapton but there’s no denying he does what he does very well and can really create a guitar groove that you can get lost in.

Musically I feel I don’t really have much to say. For the most part it’s just some really good shit. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and didn’t find a weak moment in the whole album. It was such a treat to sit through this album and feel myself grooving to Ginger Baker’s drum beats and Eric Clapton’s solos. The song writing is overall damn solid and the album really evokes a mixture of the summer of love with some hard rock sensibilities which I’d take over any type of hippie-dippie music any day. It’s like if you grabbed everything good about it and pumped it up to make it rock a little more then you would probably have Cream… probably. I honestly don’t know what I’m talking about.

There’s some interesting stories surrounding this album. Ok, not that interesting but more… amusing. One interesting note is that they actually recorded this album in a record three days which if you have heard the album know that’s one hell of an impressive feat. I think they were on a race with time because apparently their work visas expired their final recording day, so they really had to crank this out as quickly and efficiently as they could. Well, it definitely paid off because the final result is simply amazing.

Another funny story is where the title came from. I mean, Disraeli Gears is a rather odd title for an album and isn’t mentioned anywhere in any of the songs or seems to have anything to do with the album. According to Ginger Baker it was a slip of the tongue by one of the roadies who called the Derailleur Gears racing bikes Disraeli Gears by accident. The band found it so funny that they just had to name their album that. What do you expect from a band who gave themselves such a self-indulgent band name. We all know they named themselves Cream from the expression “Cream always rises to the top” to show off their over-confidence as a band. I guess they just knew they were the top of the top. Or at least believed that. Maybe not the top, but definitely up there.

I’m going to start mentally preparing myself for the next album, which I am not looking forward to at all. Until then, I’ll try to keep Cream in my mind to keep me sane.

Song of Choice: SWALBR

-Bosco

 

1001 Albums: Safe As Milk

#81

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Artist: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

Album: Safe As Milk

Year: 1967

Length: 33:40

Genre: Blues Rock / Acid Rock / Garage Rock

“Singin through you to me
Thunderbolts caught easily
Shouts the truth peacefully
Electricity”

I know what everyone is thinking and believe me I know you want to know. I told myself I wouldn’t but I know at this moment you’re all aching to find out and you won’t be satisfied until I acknowledge it. That’s fine, but I can’t always do this for you guys but I will make an exception this one time. I know you’re all dying to know… how did I do in karaoke on Friday? I realise I mentioned it in my last post and it left you guys aching for me to talk about it and I kind of felt it was either irrelevant or just didn’t really fit with this particular blog post. But looking back on all my posts I consistently talked about life and things that had absolutely nothing to do with the album so I figured what the hell, why not.

I absolutely slayed in karaoke. I killed it. I was nervous because the last time I went I butchered it but this time around I just tore it apart. I started the night with “Ballroom Blitz”, nothing great, just a ton of fun. Second song, I killed. sang ABC’s “Poison Arrow” and just owned it as my own. It was sad that nobody really knew the song, but I did well enough that it did not matter. Unfortunately with my next tune I didn’t do as well. Sang Elvis Costello’s “Radio Radio”. Fantastic tune but unfortunately I followed to assholes who chose to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” which honestly there’s an unwritten rule that unless the whole bar is doing it together you do not pick that fucking song. Following that with a song that barely anyone knew wasn’t great and I did ok… but I got to sing it which was all I wanted. About an hour later me, Luis and Aziz broke out into “TubThumping” where I samg all the female vocals and immediately got to sing my final song, Abba’s “Does Your Mother Know”, another I’ve been wanting to belt out for a long time and never did.

There, happy? That was my night.

what?

What more do you want?

Oh…

Oh right…. Safe As Milk. I forgot… I actually listened to an album by Captain Beefheart.

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An early photo of him when he was just a cabin boy.

Ok, I promise I’ll stop making these band name puns… maybe…

Despite what it sounds like I actually really love this album. My biggest problem (which is unrelated to the album itself) is that I’ve just been so tired these past few days that I barely remember much details of this album. I can definitely talk about the general feelings I had for it, but specifics are going to be really difficult at this moment. I’m adding this album to the revisit list and will eventually give it a relisten and a second blog post because my current feelings and mood just will not give it the justice it deserves.

So what can I say about it? It’s definitely it’s own thing. There’s no denying Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band managed to create something that is uniquely their own. Heavily influenced by Blues Rock, they managed to take on the genre and tackle it in a completely unconventional and unique way to the point that their original label dropped them for being too unconventional (Due to the song “Electricity” in particular). He also seems to take a page from the book of Zappa (which makes sense since he was a part of Zappa’s band) incorporating weird time signatures, strange noises, sound clips (such as a radio host introducing one of the songs), unusual and surreal lyrics and funny singing voices. If you love Zappa, Beefheart should definitely be one to check out.

I actually heard some people express they find Beefheart harder to get into than Zappa, Beefheart surprisingly somehow being more alienating. I don’t know if I agree with that. Maybe Beefheart’s later work gets a little more difficult to the ears, but this one feels way more accessible than Zappa’s work, incorporating enough weirdness to stick out but still remaining traditional enough to keep the average listener hooked. Maybe it’s just because I like the unconventional but this was definitely one of the top listening experiences I had on this list so far, so we’ll see once Trout Mask Replica hits us if I still feel the same way.

So there you have it, don’t really have much to say at the moment which is a real shame because I really loved this album but my mind has been so bogged down and cloudy this past week for so many reasons that it was really difficult to form any sort of coherent analysis or critique, especially for an album of this caliber.

So until I revisit it, check it out for yourself and enjoy the kookiness that is Captain Beefheart.

Song of Choice: Dropout Boogie

-Bosco

 

 

1001 Albums: Buffalo Springfield Again

#80

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Artist: Buffalo Springfield

Album: Buffalo Springfield Again

Year: 1967

Length: 34:07

Genre: Folk Rock/Bues Rock

“Look what’s happen’ to me,
I’m going blind, please help.
There I sat until three,
Gettin’ further behind myself, by myself.
And I’m hung upside down,
And I’m hung upside down,
And I’m hung upside down,
Come on, come on,
Hung upside Down.”

I’m going to try to speed through this one. I’m quickly eating supper as I write and am off to meet some friends for karaoke a little later but I wanted to make sure I got a post in before I did. My go to song for karaoke is usually “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors and “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us” by Sparks, but I might try new ones tonight, like “Ballroom Blitz” or even “Crazy Train”, who knows. Last time I did karaoke I totally slayed “Bad Touch” but completely massacred “Kiss From A Rose”. With me, you never quite know what you’re going to get.

So without delay, Buffalo Springfield…

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No, no, no… I don’t have time for puns based on the band’s name. I need to speed through this otherwise I’ll be late for karaoke and miss Luis hitting on the girl behind the bar.

This album seems to be mirroring the last one in a really weird way. I’ve currently experienced two albums in a row that have left out the band’s most popular and definitive song. This was actually brought to my attention by Sandra and Graham, who both knew the song and sounded rather disappointed that it didn’t appear on this album. And although for Country Joe and The Fish, the famous song would eventually appear on their next album, the Buffalo Springfield one had a very different path. Lots would correct me in saying, “But Hey! It appears on their first album, derpaderpadurrr…”. Which isn’t false, but it actually doesn’t appear on the original pressing and instead suddenly appeared as the opener of their debut album in a 1967 pressing, which if you’re observant is the same year that this album came out. Why didn’t they just put it on this one? Who knows. But for you’re listening pleasure, here’s the famous Vietnam protest song (yes coincidentally it’s also a Vietnam protest song like The Country Joe and The Fish one), “For What It’s Worth”:

 

There. Happy? now we can move on.

Here’s another album where I recognized a song from my Roots of Rock N Roll class, “Bluebird”, that unfortunately also didn’t get much airplay on my ipod. Why? I don’t know, other songs just took up more time and I never really gave this one a chance. I did now. It’s pretty good. Pretty Damn good.

That’s basically this album in a nutshell, damn good blues infused folk rock. I mean, you can’t fail when you have Crosby, Stills and Young writing music. Yeah, that’s right, the main dudes of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were here writing music before forming their super dupe power band (and before Neil Young would explode in his solo career). However, despite this, the album does feel a tad inconsistent and lacks in flow as a whole, coming off as a greatest hits compilation rather than it’s own album. If anything this is a testament to how great the music on it really is. Sure, it may not all work together as a whole, but individually they are all great tracks (except for “Sad Memory” in my opinion, which comes across as a sappy love tune that I’d skip 99% of the time). And that’s where the inconsistency comes in. Songs like “Sad Memory” and “Expecting To Fly” sound like they should be on completely different albums. Especially knowing that Neil Young rented out a studio to record “Expecting To Fly” on his own time with studio musicians who all believed it was part of his solo album. No other member of Buffalo Springfield actually appears on this song. And when you have every band member kind f just sharing in the songwriting, doing their own tunes and putting it all together, it really just adds to that compilation feel.

That being said, there’s no denying the music itself is great. “Expecting To Fly” may stick out, but in a good way, playing off as a beautiful piece of music with strings and atmosphere, a nice little break in the middle of the album. The opener “Mr. Soul” is a great upbeat blues rock song, with layered guitar performances that has you tapping your toes and “Hung Upside Down” has you hanging on, wanting to continue for more. The closer “Broken Arrow” seems to be an arrangement of live and studio performances melded together, with small breaks and pauses in the song itself. Odd choice, but works quite well.

That’s all I have to say for now. Going to finish my supper and run off to Karaoke. Block your ears, you’ll be in for an unpleasant night.

Song of Choice: Hung Upside Down

-Bosco