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Sunday, September 25, 2005
Weekend Reissue Roundup #26: 09/24/05
Artist: Album (label, release date) 1-5 stars
Gary Moore Band: Grinding Stone (Reportoire, September 20, 2005) ****
Muse: Origin Of Symmetry [Enhanced](Warner Brothers, September 20, 2005) ***
Herb Alpert: Whipped Cream And Other Delights (King Japan, September 20, 2005) **
Krishna Das: Pilgrim Heart (Triloka, September 20, 2005) **
You know it's a slow week for reissues when Gary Moore has the most interesting one, and Herb Alpert and Krishna Das make the list. But we work with what we have.
Gary Moore Band: Grinding Stone
Gary Moore is barely known in the U.S., although he's managed to keep a cult audience in England and Europe over the years. A guitarist in the style of Peter Green, who helped him land his first record deal, Moore's mostly-instrumental Grinding Stone was his first project following the disbanding of his first band, Skid Row (not the 80's hair metal guys), in 1972. Grinding Stone is from 1973, and the band consisted of Moore on vocals and guitar, Pearse Kelly on drums, and John Curtis on bass. Grinding Stone is something of a transitional effort; a little amplified blues rock, like Moore's earliest work, and the barest hints of fusion, which hints at his later work with Colosseum II. The nine minute title track gets a pretty good groove on, while "Time To Heal" is a blues-boogie featuring Moore's fairly ragged vocals. "Sail Across The Mountain" is slower and soulful; the 17-minute "Spirit" crosses the line from bluesy metal into fullblown progressive rock. Is there an audience for this? Depends how much you like Moore's guitar, which still does recall Green's, but with less fluidity. It's a lumpen album in the worst excessive tradition of the the early 70's, which isn't really a put-down, but as a guitar album or a power-trio album it delivers the goods, and is fairly unique for its time.
Muse: Origin Of Symmetry [Enhanced]
English trio Muse is best known in the States for "Hyper Music", from their 2001 sophomore album Origin Of Symmetry. Origin Of Symmetry was frequently compared to Radiohead when it was released, and while Muse is a little softer focus, the comparison still holds to a degree. Many of the songs on Origin of Symmetry take a similar approach even if they wind up in different realms; spooky quiet intros with muted piano or organ that erupt into uptempo, busy numbers with shaggy, loud vocals and a dusting of white noise. The album is anything but subtle; the riffs, organs, and screams are defiantly over-the-top. "Feeling Good" with its intensely silly filtered vocals and bogus blues progression is maybe the best thing here; the single "Hyper Music" and neo-prog-rock "Bliss" other standouts. Vocalist and primary songwriter Matthew Bellamy recalls Jeff Buckley at times.
Herb Alpert: Whipped Cream and Other Delights
The title is a giveaway. Herb Alpert was the king of lightweight, easy listening confection, and this album is about as tasty and ultimately sickly-sweet and unsatisfying as a bowl of whipped cream. Its re-issue is noteworthy as a curio; here we have an instrumental concept album with nearly every song given the title of some kind of food ("Whipped Cream", "A Taste Of Honey", "Peanuts", "Lollipops And Roses"), the album cover features a pretty young nude model wearing only whipped cream, and the album itself was Alpert's big commercial breakthrough in 1965. While it's easy to say Alpert's records all sound alike, there are subtle differences; "Love Potion No. 9" gets a brassy treatment that would've sounded at home in a 60's strip club, while "A Taste Of Honey" shows off its complex time signatures and made the top-10. "Whipped Cream" sounds almost like Alpert's later hit "Spanish Flea". Can't really recommend this to hardcore rock fans, but fans of 60's kitsch may find it amusing.
Krishna Das: Pilgrim Heart
Pick your spiritual leaders carefully. Krishna Das is strongly recommended by Timothy Leary's former partner-turned-guru Ram Dass, which ought to be a tip-off from the start. Krishna Das is Long Island raised Jeffrey Kagel, whose life apparently was changed by a several-hours meeting with Ram Dass in 1968; in 1970 he went on spiritual retreat to India. Flashing forward to 1990, Krishna Das formed his own record label, Triloka Records, which specializes in new agey World albums. Pilgrim Heart, from 1998, is his second album (he started recording late in life). It is pretty much what you might expect; devout, solemn, trance-inducing, somewhat treacly and sweet. Still, the vocals are quite pretty in places, particularly on "Govinda Hare" and "The Goddess Suite-Mother Song" which display Das' rich baritone in interesting juxtaposition with his backing vocalists. Sting puts in an appearance on "Mountain Hare Krishna". What does it all mean? Probably nothing; the new age always was vague on specifics. But if you're looking for something pseudo-profound to do your yoga to, you could probably do worse. Or better.
Weekend Reissue Roundup is a weekly feature.
Vox Populi #1
Due to the resounding success (I use these terms relatively) of the Jim Morrison was... post of August 18th, I hereby launch yet another (very) irregular feature I'm dubbing Vox Populi.
Vox Populi is a snapshot of current sentiment towards basically anyone, although Freeway Jam will limit it to musicians and music related topics (with one special non-musical guest per installment). Someone could probably start their own blog devoted to this concept with names from other spheres of influence, from politicians to movie stars.
Here's how it works: I plug in a random name (i.e. Jim Morrison was) and report the first 15 results that come up on Google [Technorati doesn't search well this way].
From this, we get the voice of the people.
I'll choose our subjects randomly today as a launching point.
Criteria: I list these in the order that they appear in the search results; the exact phrase must appear. Dependent clauses are omitted.
Thus speaketh the people:
"The Beatles were"
The Beatles were the hottest
If the Beatles were hackers . . .
the Beatles were bigger than Jesus
The Beatles were on their way out with "Abbey Road,"
The Beatles were devastated by their failed audition
The Beatles were the most influential, groundbreaking and successful popular music group of the rock era.
The Beatles were the young and the new
The Beatles were legendary figures in America from the moment they
the Beatles were still often sticking to their tried-and-true love song
What if The Beatles Were Computer Freaks
the Beatles were growing weary of their popularity.
the Beatles were "Bubblegum."
The Beatles were finished when Eppy died
the Beatles were unusual among male musicians in addressing women as friends.
The Beatles Were Right
Analysis: Strong showing from the Beatles. Wonder what those hacker obsessions are all about. Bubblegum? Must be a GG Allin fan.
"Kurt Cobain was"
Kurt Cobain was suicidal and was in possession of a shotgun
Kurt Cobain was left-handed
Kurt Cobain was all about his private life
Kurt Cobain was found dead
Kurt Cobain Was Murdered
Kurt Cobain was born on February 20 1967, in Hoquaim,
KURT COBAIN WAS INJECTED WITH 3 TIMES A LETHAL DOSE OF HEROIN!!
Kurt Cobain was not suicidal.
Kurt Cobain was an artist who was influenced by Curtis and Joy Division.
Kurt Cobain was not just a great musician, but a great person too.
kurt cobain was the one who changed music forever and sang music from the heart
Kurt Cobain was mentally unstable and was a narcotics fiend
Kurt Cobain was found dead in April 1994, the police quickly labeled the death a suicide.
Kurt Cobain was a talented and popular writer
Kurt Cobain was the unhappiest.
Analysis: Poor Kurt; he'll never be able to live down his suicide. The first person to comment on music was the Joy Division fan; he's just wrong. The last comment is the saddest.
"Britney Spears is"
Britney Spears is said to be getting her first taste of motherhood after reportedly giving birth to a baby boy.
Britney Spears is pregnant.
Britney Spears is taking great pains, like hiring decoy lookalikes to trick greedy shutterbugs, to make sure that she cashes in on her little peanut before the paparazzi do.
Britney Spears is a "hot mom" (her words)
Britney Spears is a Three-Headed Alien
Britney Spears Is A Bigamist
Britney Spears is pictured visiting her husband who is in the finishing touches
of his new hip hop album at a very upmarket Malibu Hills studio.
Britney Spears is a cultural phenomenon.
Britney Spears is an instrument of Satan.
Britney Spears is the first female pop star since Madonna who has managed to influence so many people of all ages in the pop scene.
Britney Spears is not talented at all.
Britney Spears Is Ecstatic.
Britney Spears is expecting a baby girl:.
Britney Spears is bad!
Britney Spears is conceited and ab*tch around her fans
Britney Spears is 2003's #1 Woman Online
Analysis: Her pregnancy dominates; interesting how stilted the positive comments seem in contrast to the negative comments. How good can a hip hop album be if it's made by a white guy at an "upmarket" Malibu studio, I wonder?
"Ry Cooder is"
Ry Cooder is an amazing guitarist and musician
Ry Cooder is always very good.
Ry Cooder is unbeatable.
Ry Cooder is more accident-prone than most.
Ry Cooder is an extreme talent and has done countless movie scores,etc.
Ry Cooder is one of those musicians who has followed the tracks of our lives
Ry Cooder is also known as being one of the greatest bottleneck slide guitar players to grace this century.
Ry Cooder is widely regarded as one of the best slide guitarists around (he sings, too).
RY COODER is still struggling to make money from music, despite having been a celebrated singer/songwriter since the 1960s.
Ry Cooder is probably best known for his moody film soundtracks and his collaborations with world musicians
Ry Cooder is a Los Angeles-based musician of international renown
Ry Cooder is not a happy man?
Ry Cooder is een Amerikaanse gitarist en producer.
Ry Cooder is an enigmatic, mysterious figure.
Ry Cooder is many things to many people.
Analysis: Since the first three were "personalities" as much as musical figures, I used Ry Cooder, known much more for his music than personality, as a contrast. Most comments are music oriented. I doubt Cooder is still struggling for money. Accident prone?
Special non-musical guest: "George W. Bush is"
George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.
George W. Bush is about to set a political record.
George W. Bush is something of which the public should be aware
George W. Bush is too stupid to be President.
George W. Bush is a "compassionate conservative" but not because he is particularly compassionate or is even a principled conservative.
George W. Bush is genuinely Born Again through Jesus
George W. Bush is no true leader of the real American with his/her eyes wide open.
George W. Bush is fully aware of how his enemies perceive him,
George W. Bush is expected to present specific evidence of the threat posed by Iraq during a speech to the United Nations next week
George W. Bush is *not* very, very dumb?
George W. Bush is a fake cowboy.
George W. Bush is a liar.
George W. Bush is indeed not only our nation's leader, but our spiritual lighthouse and embodied salvation.
George W. Bush is not responsible for the increased pace of executions, nor did he create Texas' arcane clemency procedures.
George W. Bush is taking anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.
Analysis: Man, this doesn't look very good. Some of it is weird, too. I chose Bush not to make a political statement myself (I try to keep politics out of this blog. Next time, our guest celeb will be Oprah Winfrey), but because I really was curious to see what came up. Now I know.
Regular readers anxiously awaiting Weekend Reissue Roundup, Sunday Morning Playlist, and Weekly Artist Overview (it's back), stay tuned; they're coming.