Archive for the ‘Music that doesn’t suck’ Category

Getting some ZZs

March 20, 2020

Just a lil’ ol’ band from Texas that’s been around for a half-century.

When I was allegedly attending college at the University of Northern Colorado in Greality we enjoyed a weekly bit of low-key debauchery called the Friday Afternoon Club (or FAC).

A Netflix documentary — “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas” — brought this weekly skull-flush to mind. And this morning I dashed right on over to the Apple Music store and scored a digital copy of a 1973 album I already own in vinyl, “Tres Hombres.”

There. Global economy rescued by Your Humble Narrator. You’re welcome.

If you’ve shut yourself away and need something to do, why not try tapping your toes? Join the club!

Year of the Plague

March 13, 2020

Everyone’s world is getting just a little bit smaller.

Has everyone settled in to The New Normal yet?

Herself had to make a supply run to Herself the Elder’s assisted-living home yesterday, but since she forgot her biohazard gear and breathing apparatus, she had to leave the goodies on the porch. The joint is on lockdown, with the drawbridge up and the moat full of gators, piranha fish, and plugged-in toasters.

She managed to snap a selfie at mom’s bedroom window, though. And of course, when you can’t get actual facetime, there’s FaceTime.

Elsewhere, the noobs are trying to figure out how to work from home. Lucky for me, I have a black belt in social distancing, which I have been practicing since 1991, when after 15 years in the Petri dish of daily journalism it was suddenly just me, my Mac SE, and a Hayes modem, in a spare bedroom.

Also, as a geezer with a broken ankle and the Socialist Insecurity due to start rolling in next month, I don’t have much to do or a pressing need to go somewhere to do it.

So I got that going for me, which is nice.

The hard part, for me and for thee, is the temptation to go all COVID-19, all the time. Don’t do it. Send a daily hate mail to the White House and then call it a day.

Watching this lame reboot of “A Day at the Races” ain’t doing it for me. There are more horses’ asses than horses in this one, and I don’t think the fat fuck playing Dr. Hackenbush is even a vet, much less an MD.

And now, today’s musical selection:

 

R.I.P., Neil Innes

December 30, 2019

The Urban Spaceman has blasted off. He was 75.

Neil Innes worked with The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Rutles, a.k.a. “The Prefab Four,” and of course, Monty Python.

His abrupt departure via heart attack is both surprising and unwelcome. God keeps repo’ing the comics and leaving us with the jokes.

The NYT has an obit here. Here’s Neil performing three of his greatest hits in an NPR Tiny Desk Concert back in 2011. And here’s an extensive BBC obit that includes a few video clips.

“I’ve suffered for my music, and now it’s your turn.” How sweet, this idiot.

Father Christmas, give us some money

December 25, 2019

My Christmas caroling tends to wander far afield from the norm. This one does have a little drummer boy in it, though.

Pah-rum-pah-pum-pum, bitches. Give us some money.

‘A musical warlock’

December 14, 2019

Frank Zappa’s “Hot Rats” is 50 years old. Great googly moogly!

Read all about it here, and scope out a six-disc anniversary boxed set of the work at Zappa.com.

Writes Jim Farber at The Guardian:

The dense and raucous jams that inspired the final cuts have been fully restored, and assembled in an order that makes the development of the official versions clear. “It provides context for the final product,” said Ian Underwood, who played a plethora of instruments on “Rats” and who is the only musician, besides Zappa, who appeared on every track. “Like ‘process art,’ you can hear all the things leading up to a track, so you get a feel for how it arrived at the end. It’s also interesting to see what didn’t work out along the way.”

Willie the Pimp would be s’proud.

• Editor’s note: This constitutes our official observance of Zappadan 2019.

Happy birthday, Tom Waits

December 7, 2019

Himself turned 70 today. Many more to him. You really gotta hold on, Thomas me lad.

On the run

November 30, 2019

When I come in cold and tired, it’s good to warm my bones by the fire.

“Dark Side of the Moon” would’ve been an excellent soundtrack for yesterday. Cold, gray, damp, gloomy, madness lurking just around the corner. You lock the door, and throw away the key; there’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.

Happily, the sun returned today, though warmth remained AWOL. So I dragged Herself out for a short trail run and it was just the ticket. A bit squishy underfoot in spots, and windy, but loads better than hanging on in quiet desperation. It’s not the Irish way.

Speaking of the Irish, we finally finished watching Martin Scorsese’s  “The Irishman,” which was so bloody long that we had to make a three-part miniseries out of it. The digital de-aging is a little distracting, until you quit looking for it, but the performances are top shelf. Joe Pesci was superb, Robert De Niro was restrained, and even Al Pacino took a break from chewing on the scenery, mostly. I’d have liked more screen time for Harvey Keitel, but hey, whaddaya gonna do? It is what it is.

There’s a whole gang of familiar faces in this one: comics Ray Romano, Sebastian Maniscalco and Jim Norton; straight men Jesse Piemons, Stephen Graham, and Dominick Lombardozzi; even Little Steven Van Zandt as crooner Jerry Vale.

And you may notice a theater marquee advertising “The Shootist” in the background of one scene. It was about an aging gunman hoping for a quiet death, and John Wayne’s final film. Not long after, De Niro’s character is seen shopping for his own coffin.

New coat of paint

November 23, 2019

“Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits,”
is available at Dualtone Music Group.

Tom Waits is an acquired taste (just ask Pat O’B), but Allison Moorer finds him delicious.

Moorer and several other female artists, working with producer Warren Zanes, have released an album of Waits covers titled “Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits.”

They lay a sweet, smooth coat of Sherwin-Williams over that weatherbeaten Waits structure, which Zanes describes with all due respect as a “trash-can aesthetic,” and it works beautifully in the cuts I’ve heard.

Roseanne Cash performs a gently reimagined “Time,” one of the Waits songs I like to play badly on guitar. Iris Dement, a frequent John Prine collaborator, takes a deep, Dolly Parton country dive into “The House Where Nobody Lives.” And Patty Griffin’s take on “Ruby’s Arms” strips the original of its instrumental fat and gets right down to the bone.

In an interview on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday,” Scott Simon quotes Moorer describing Waits as “a fully integrated artist who seemingly sees the whole picture at once and knows how to present it so that we do too.”

“He does seem to draw up marginal characters a lot — people who are either stuck in life or we don’t consider them people that we see,” Moorer said. “He exposes the everyday.”

Zanes hopes the album will unearth the lyrical voice that for some may be inextricable from the “grit and the growl” that characterizes Waits’s delivery.

“I think over the years he went deeper into the back of the cave, and sometimes I think people fail to see the very classic nature of the songs because of that ‘trash can’ aesthetic,” he told Simon.

“We viewed it as, ‘His 70th birthday is coming, and it’s a feast day, and we’re gonna take these songs and we’re gonna give them all the sweetness that we can.’ There’s something about the female voice that’s associated with a kind of vulnerability and a kind of emotion that we really wanted to breathe in these songs.”

Meanwhile, here’s the original “Ruby’s Arms,” the closer to 1980’s “Heartattack and Vine.” I was alone and miserable in Tucson when I trudged down Orange Grove Road to some anonymous Oracle Road music shop to buy this one. Still have it, too.

Hey, hey, my, my

November 22, 2019

Old man, look at my life, I’m a lot like you were.

Neil Young is still rockin’ in the free world.

Veterans Day

November 11, 2019

This one goes out to every aging child who, come Veterans Day, misses the old man (or old lady, for that matter).

Or maybe you just miss Steve Goodman.