Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dan Craig – Afterglow

“Taken less for-granted, you’re a knot that’s worth untying, you are featureless but flying, you are whole among the pieces, you are one.” Spiritual meanderings for my Sunday afternoon. The music is pretty much an acoustic flavored meal with just enough beat to keep these ears tuned in to the message Dan’s sharing. “You’re not alone. Sometimes I don’t believe it either, but it’s been shown that it’s the hurt that makes the healer feel like home.” Definitely thought-provoking. Dan’s voice has the ability to make me feel at home and glad to be listening. “Flying back, but slowly, there’s an ardor to your armor, holy rain you thought you’d die for. Through the cracks I see the hope of afterglow.”

The shout-out tune, Cherry Moon, is an intriguing look at those who protest, presented as a character named Pamela. While I disagree completely with Dan’s assessment that only middle class folks who want to rule protest (let’s face it, the huge underclass would protest of they had enough time in their day – but with both mom and dad working two jobs just to make ends meet, it’s tough to muster up the energy needed to even think about what has put them in this position), I do respect the way he’s able to put the thoughts of a capitalist into poetry and song; plus I always remember the songwriter may be describing the thoughts of another character. Also, I happen to agree about the fruitlessness because there’s truth in this: “This machine doesn’t mind your rage/You know you’re just a snake in a cage.” I feel that way a lot. I love these lines also: “There’s a cherry-flavored moon that’s out tonight, so I guess we’re alright.”

Dan Craig

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Porsche Smith – Bebop

“Feeling good tonight down in my soul.” Yep, and the music certainly doesn’t hurt this feeling. Funk, complete with horns. Good tasting, wonderfully flowing dance around the spaces in my head and the entire living room at the same time. The vocals are just as exciting as the music, complete with scatting deep deep down in my soul. “You gotta be-bop.” Although everything has absolutely marvelous flavors, my favorite part of this cut is that Porsche allows the musicians to stretch a bit. Shoutout for Crazy – a truthful prayer.

A very special shoutout for Neglected, a slow burner that had me thinking of my own relationships with my children. “Daddy, if I passed away would you know who I was?” What are their dreams, their plans, their ambitions? Do I truly know? And, when do I ask? Thanks, Porsche, for pulling these thoughts out into my consciousness. Porsche Smith

Friday, September 28, 2007

Putumayo Presents – Israel

I am extremely impressed. A compilation named Israel could go wrong on so many levels – think about it. This one doesn’t. While not the high-energy dance music that Putumayo often compiles, this is still dance music. And while one would expect many traditional sounds from Israel, Putumayo wisely chose to include that only as relevant to 2007.

If you look at Israel on a map, it is a hinge on the Mediterranean between Africa and Europe, with lots and lots of Mediterranean sea splashing up on its shoreline. Even though I have never personally been to Israel, I would expect its popular music to reflect all these truths, not the Hollywood flavors one usually hears when the term Israel pops up in entertainment circles in the US.

So we are filled with the ear-pleasuring flavors of Persia, Africa, Turkey, Europe, a bit of Jazz from the US, even some pleasurable tastes from Brazil and Jamaica. Israel is, after all, a modern nation that invites visitors from all over the world, and thus is influenced by flavors from all over. And, in good, pluralistic (in the good sense) fashion, there is music represented by folks who are Muslim, Christian, Jewish and undeclared. Not enough? How about the regions? Yep, music from Palestine, Tel Aviv, Galilee, Jerusalem, and more. If there’s any prejudice to be seen it’s in the fact that everyone is welcome as being completely human and relevant. How often can you feel this truth when your daily exposure to Israel is only the “news”? (”News” = only that which media outlets want us to know.)

You’ll notice I am not choosing a favorite cut. That’s easily explained – every cut on this album stands out and is filled with flavors I cherish. I was only familiar with two of the artists on this compilation before, but I now have many new artists to seek out and learn to know better: Etti Ankri, Itay Pearl, Hadas Dagul, Rona Kenan, Mosh Ben Ari, Moshav Band, Zafa, Sheva, David Broza, Tea Packs, Amal Murkus, The Idan Raichel Project. The diverse nature of this music is lovingly held together by one common theme – excellence. A wonderful evening of joyful movement is in store when this cd hits the laser. Deeply delicious.

Shoutouts for Tea Packs (Vehap'am Shir Ahava), Amal Murkus (Ta'alu), Hadas Dagul (Seret Eelem), Rona Kenan with Gidi Gov (Ha'rikud Ha'muzar Shel Ha'lev), and The Idan Raichel Project (Mi' Ma'amakim).

Putumayo Presents – Israel

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ruarri Joseph – Patience (Live – free download)

A few weeks ago I raved about the cuts on the Ruarri Joseph album, Tales Of Grime And Grit. My focus was upon Ruarri as a songwriter because he is a powerful, interesting songwriter and singer. He’s currently on tour, and his record label has released a performance from one of his live solo gigs, and I’m sharing it here because it helped me focus on Raurri the musician. The guitar playing on this live cut blew me away, and I know you’ll enjoy it. It’s definitely worth hearing once or twice, and if you really like they’ve made it available as a free download. Click here: Ruarri Joseph

You can also purchase the whole album here: Tales Of Grime and Grit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

McDermotts 2 Hours – Molloy

“No man can destroy the road to take you home.” Take a very cool Irish-flavored folk song, fix up the lyrics about a man named Molloy, and spice it all up with a rock feeling and you have a very interesting meal. Molloy’s story covers the last part of the 20th century. “The land is made to roam.” The musicians do not overwhelm with virtuosity. Shoutout for Crusaders – “Onward Christian soldiers marching toward the holy land, you crude-eyed crusaders – there’s blood on your hands.” McDermotts 2 Hours

Soweto Kinch - Good Nyooz

“One truth.” Some hump days need a good, high powered jazz album to go along with the beer on a hot hot afternoon with leftover hurricane rain clouds hovering on the horizon, and Soweto Kinch fits the bill perfectly. “I got good news in the midst of a discouraging day!” Lots of cool scat for this cut, and lots of straight-ahead jazz for the rest of the album. Shoutouts for Conversations With The Unseen, Elision, and Mungo's Adventure. Soweto Kinch

Kate Nash – Play

A fun hip-hop beat introduces “I like to play, I like today.” A sixties organ and cheap garage guitar enter the mix, and the message is clear. Let’s play and have fun. Love it. The vocals fit the theme, and we know not to expect depth, simply joy. Shoutouts for Mouthwash and Skeleton Song. Pleasurable eartastes. Kate Nash

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Molly Johnson

Some albums are simply too perfect to take apart and select favorite eartastes from. If pushed to the barbed wire I’d holler out “Sticks and Stones”, but if there was a great meal set and candlelight I’d whisper gratefully “Tonight” with “If You Knew Love” for dessert. The band is hot and right on. There’s a Cole Porter Song, a Gershwin Tune, a Springsteen Tune, with the rest written by Molly and the band. Sunday afternoon jazz with flavors of Detroit, Brazil, New Orleans, Paris and Berlin. The blues scream without a voice being raised, the mature voice tingles my spine all the way through - this totally satisfying 50 minutes of bliss. “Lord have mercy on the virgin ears.” Molly Johnson

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sean Kingston - Me Love

“Why’d you go away from home?” The question opens the song & we are pulled onto the dance floor to enjoy the beats despite the the lyrics that try to pull us down into the depths of the ocean. “I’m missing her, and I know she’s missing me” the singer says as we rasta around the parquet in wonder and romantic dreams of heavenly lights in the sky. The music elevates powerfully – thanks! Shoutouts for Got No Shorty, There's Nothing & Change. “I wish I had the power to change the world, but I’m just one man trying to do it on my own.” Sean Kingston

Friday, September 21, 2007

Twisted Charm - Happy Alone

“You say that you love me. You want to settle down. But I do not need anyone. All I need is my freedom.” Joyous music, with largely persussion/bass background to make the dancing as free as the lyrics. While the percussion rules the beat, there are lots of horns accenting the vocalist for a full-baked eartaste meal. “No conversation can explain all of these thoughts inside my brain.” Delicious and bouncing. Shoutouts for Boring Lifestyles and Television Nation. Twisted Charm

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Neutrinos - Girlfriend's Got A Gun

“My ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend’s got a gun.” Well, we live in a violent world, so the story is easy to believe and presented in a manner that could either be heard as deadly serious or tongue-way-down-in-the-cheek hilarious. I guess it depends on my mood. What’s important to me is the presentation – the music here is perfect for the lyric and moves the story along with the suspense it deserves. The build-up to the climax is wonderful. Very cool pop song. “My ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend’s got a guitar. She don’t know how to use it but she thinks she’s gonna be a star.” Shoutouts for Kiss Like Killers, Donkeywork & Corpse. Each song has it's own distinct flavor, putting emphasis on the lyrical content while allowing me to dance freely. Neutrinos

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tiny Masters of Today - K.I.D.S.

You all know my style by now. Throw away the packaging, listen to the music. I loved this CD from cut one all the way through 3 times non-stop. It’s truly great playing. The only thing throwing me off was the voices. I figured it to be a coupla adults who figgered out a way to synthesize their voices to sound like kids. I didn’t have a problem, because the overall energy affected me like other major life-changing albums have done for me. I can tell you exactly where I was sitting when I heard those albums for the very first time – the tingles that went through my body when I heard them are not tingles that happen every day. Well, this album caused those tingles, even when I thought it was adults.

Excitement gets to me, so I did a little research on these guys. It’s still tough to believe. I work with kids their age every day, and in 27 years have never pulled of a decent political discussion with any of them. Once in awhile I can find a kid who can offer a real decent challenge in chess. But politics? These are some rare kids, I tell ya.

After accepting that this wasn’t a cartoon, but real life, it was doubly hard to think these kids were playing. Their ages are 12 and 10??? It takes most people 3-4 years to sound this good on one instrument, much less all the instruments they profess to play. I’ll have to accept that people have seen them play live, and they are apparently this good. I read one note that said they are influenced by White Stripes. Well, that’s easy to say – the White Stripes are especially unique, and no one else I’m aware of has been able to pull off a two person group this loud and energetic, much less kids this age.

Okay, I’ve accepted this is real, back to the music, the main thing. Yes!!! This music is great energy, great fun, and a lot of times very political. "Kids don't make no atom bomb, Kids didn't start no Vietnam." + “Kids don’t run the government, kids don’t run for President. Kids don’t run the government, kids don’t like the President!” Then there’s a verse that implies they know if they talk this way that the government is going to find them and shut them up. Luckily for us, even with all the censorship in the major media (do not show caskets coming home, etc), that people aren’t yet put away for speaking their minds. Squelched a bit maybe, but not put away. Yet. The kids are feeling that time coming, and that’s eerie, because kids have a way of sensing the truth that adults are blinded to.

Do yourself a favor. This album is set to be released next week. Buy one & enjoy the music, even if you’re not a political person. These are some special kids. Not your garden variety Disney-fed kids, but talented, extremely talented kids who are far beyond the “high-school musical” world America lives in. And, to be quite honest – I wouldn’t be surprised someday to find out the kids didn’t really play the instruments on the album. I’m feeling this – if they did, great for them! If they didn’t – still great for them. It’s a great album either way. No one got upset when it was revealed that Ringo didn’t play the drums for the Beatles early records or that the Byrds didn’t play the instruments on their records or that the Monkees weren’t playing the instruments on their first few albums. It’s still great entertainment, and Tiny Masters of Today is truly great entertainment. Shoutouts for Hey, Mr. DJ & Hologram World. Plus, you can bet I’ll be talking about other cuts from this album in the weeks to come. Fantastic job, and kids – if you ever get to read this – don’t let your high school teachers squelch you. That’s their job, but you do not have to submit! Tiny Masters of Today

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Architecture In Helsinki - Heart It Races

The musical rhythm on this cut is a heartbeat, and it stands out immediately as a fun, danceable listening pleasure. “And we're slow to acknowledge the knots in the laces.” I’m not sure I can intelligently say much about this. My mind goes to a pair of racing shoes and I try to make sense of it from there. I’m not super successful at understanding the entire story, but for some reason find this bit hilarious: “I sold it to a man and threw him out the window, he went boom dah dah dah dah dah, boom dah dah dah dah. Made his wife a widow.” Okay, seriously, it’s not funny, but I can’t stop from laughing. Call the men in the white coats if you must. I have this picture in my head of a man buying a fast beating heart and splatting on the ground several stories down. And I know it shouldn’t be funny, but with the music! I can’t help myself – this is fun. “I bought it in a can and stirred it with my fingers singing boom dah dah dah dah dah, boom dah dah dah dah.” Shoutout for Lazy. Architecture In Helsinki

Monday, September 17, 2007

GoodBooks – Leni

The keyboards meander for 2 bars then BANG – wake up! “I cannot see the day for night, I feel the clouds closing in.” The song continues to build, with more instruments joining and pushing the story forward with just enough psychedelia 2/3 through to push the cut from interesting to intriguing. “You bring me down, you push me around, you kick my face into the ground. And I'll tell you because I was there.” The type of feelings the narrator has for Leni are not healthy, by any means, but are common adolescent feelings very much worth exploring and sharing. “There are times when I will need you, there are times when you're not around. And I'm losing my patience - I will love her from the grave.” Vivid confusion; when matched with the music makes for excellent eartaste flavors. GoodBooks

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Newton Faulkner - I Need Something

It’s hard not to notice the superb guitar work, so let’s get that outta the way. This guy plays some mean guitar. Now, to the song. “I need something to believe in cause I don’t believe in myself.” Perfect for a Sunday song – some 30% of the world use Sunday to meditate on this thought. “I’m sick and tired of getting nowhere. Guess it’ll all work out.” He chooses to take the easy way out, philosophically. Instead of digging deeper and finding meaning, just sit and wait. And for Newton, it will probably work cause this music should attract many ears - with a sound this clean, and playing this slick, it’s easy to see this on the top of the charts for many months. Newton covers many different flavors of music, with all of it sounding fresh and delightful, despite the morbid meditations of the cut I chose to talk about. When I see someone so obviously reaching out beyond his own ego for faith I’m excited, and when it’s played with honesty and great music I’m doubly excited. The band plays along quite fluently. Shoutouts for To The Light and Gone In The Morning. Newton Faulkner

Amy MacDonald - Mr Rock 'n' Roll

Sneaky song – starts like a ballad deep in the woods, and roars into life with “So called Mr RockNRoll is dancing on his own again, talking on his phone again to someone who tells him that his balance is low. He’s got no where to go, he’s on his own again.” Great fun, with lyrics reminiscent of “how does it feel to be on your own with no direction home?” The music keeps the beat moving along at a fast clip as Amy keeps up with her tasty mouthfuls of lyrics. “And there’s a happy ending.” Always, as in movies and books. “And they’ll meet someday somewhere far away.” Shoutouts for This Is The Life and Let's Start A Band. Amy MacDonald

Entice - Contest Winners

14 entries, but only 2 correct. Those two folks were contacted & they've sent their addresses - Beth in California, and Jonathan in Texas. The Entice CD's will be in the mail tomorrow morning. Just saw a few more entries pop in - sorry folks.

FYI - the "wrong" entries gave me the song title that was reviewed, not the shoutout song as requested. Read a bit closer next time! Thanks! -Rich

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Olivea Watson - All's I Want

The stars are visible tonight, and this song sounds so perfect floating through the dark humidity. A swampy guitar intro. It’s a definite after-dinner song; a delicious slice of pecan pie warmed up and topped with vanilla ice cream actually. The band is playing a type of country blues that originates in a city, if that makes any sense. I think it’s the drums that make it feel that way. That, and the fact these guys all play in tune. No matter, the electric fiddle gives us a beat that makes the Texas stars shine brighter. The song makes me look up and wonder where the lone star moniker even came from. There’s at least half a million visible stars up there. More than I can count anyway. Olivea’s vocal chords provide a beautiful instrument not available in any music store. “My emotion stays inside and I know we’re afraid our worlds may collide.” Olivea Watson

Friday, September 14, 2007

An Enticing Contest!!!

Entice has sent several copies of their new EP for me to give away to the first two readers who can tell me the name of the Entice song I shouted out this week. Send the name of the song to eartaste @ gmail . com (leave out the spaces) & I’ll contact you for your address.

EDIT NOTE: Winners announced. Contest over.

Koopa – The Crash

The kings of 3 minute pop songs are “just getting drunk and having fun.” Two vocalists keep the excitement rolling and rocking – the interplay is great. “Get out of your shell and taste a bit of freedom!” There’s a sorta love song intertwined in the fun – you have to hear this to appreciate it – “she brings me up up up up up and down again.” I know, it doesn’t look smart on the page, but neither did “she loves you yeah yeah yeah”, and that excitement led to many years of eartaste pleasure. Watch Koopa’s website for a release date – you can pre-order the single. It appears the strategy of this band is to have a ton of downloads the day of release to make a dent on the music charts. With a song this exciting, that should be no problem. Definitely should be receiving lots of airplay: Koopa

Entice - Summer Nights

School’s been in session for several weeks now, but this fun song reminded me that legally, and Lord knows there’s lots of legalists in Texas, we are still involved in Summer for another week. Autumn starts next week. Plus, it was 90 degrees outside today, so we shoulda been on the beach anyway. Keyboards start with chording, later the drums and lead guitar enter simultaneously, and finally the vocalist emotes his way into the mix. “Call me up tonight. Call me up tomorrow if you like, we’ll start a perfect day.” The emotion is one of longing, feels like he’s knowing something is close to over. Summer romance. “Cause you and me, we sit out in the summer nights loving everyone and everything we see.” The song never says it’s almost over, but the emotions of the voice expose his fears. Beautifully done. Shoutout for Listen Hard, a completely different flavor with lots of chording guitar. Entice

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Payola Reserve - Grade A Television

The harmonica sound sleepily sneeks up on the lyric – “According to your television, everyone is rich.” I don’t have opportunity to watch the television, but the little I do watch shows this statement to be true. The ads hit in every few moments simply assuming people have spare $$$ around to purchase product. The slow dance continues “sleeping with your television on.” I’ve been there. Kinda scary when you think about it, which makes this line a lotta fun: “your brain waves and your television dancing until six.” Never know what’s being fed to the grey matter. Shoutout for the upbeat and thought-provoking Jugband Joan. The Payola Reserve

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Among Wolves – Bottle

Swirling organ recalls the psychedelic 60’s flavor of dance, with some extremely cool guitar crunching during the last minute of the song. I’ve tried to dream the lyrics deeply and see how much they affect he dance? “How come when I ask you the simplest question. . .Do you love him? You said that you loved him I guess you changed your mind.” I haven’t found the answer because I’m too busy moving to think. Definitely a tune to keep the dance floor filled on hump day, while the bottles of beer and other beverages sit on the table gathering water beads for 2 ½ minutes. Those bottles sure look good after dancing so hard, but get a few slugs in quick cause these guys drag you right back up with the shoutout tune, Just In Case. This tune takes us on a completely different, slower dance movement, and includes a deeper story. Very cool played back-to-back. Among Wolves

The Mystic Underground – Madeleine

Definitely dance for a hump-day party, this band eerily evokes the early 80’s appetizer flavors, when we were just starting to hear of chicken wings and jalepeƱo poppers. Retro to the extreme, I feel like I’m head-bopping along with a long-lost computerized midi synthesizer ditty for awhile, then I pop outta that and remember these guys are alive and well 20+ years later. “Where are they now?” Odd feeling, but fun music. I gave up trying to find a place for you to purchase this song, but they do have a video up at Myspace for those with a fast connection: The Mystic Underground

EDIT: Got a note from the band, and this song is available for download only at this time. "thanks so much for the feature! just so you know, the song is available via i-tunes, emusic, etc... thanks again! best :) v.themysticunderground"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sleeper Car - Lay It Down

The sleepy tune echoes “Waitin’ Around To Die” just enough to cause shivers, then quickly moves into its own groove with lyrics that are astute enough to almost feel like our friend has returned to visit. “You broke me in like a bar room door. You spoke, you moved, you laughed and then you cried. But you said my name with the softest voice, you know you told me to stay another day.” It’s a voice from the past in some respects, but these guys are living and breathing and chugging out songs with the power and spirit of the best. “I said to my friend let me be someone else, I can’t take much more of these days. He said, “you love something good, you gotta let it go. You gotta look, you gotta move, you gotta walk away.” The words tumble out smoothly and feel like songs I’ve sing forever yet I know I haven’t heard them before. “I know I’ve done my best to say the things I never could before I went away, but I’ll take what I can from you my dear. I’ll take the good the bad and all the in between.” Beautiful music, beautiful lyrics. Shoutout for I Won’t Break Down. Sleeper Car

Monday, September 10, 2007

Illimanjaro – Cocktail

“Drinking and driving you crazy.” Cool tag line to a wake-me-up it’s Monday rocker. The story centers around a “problem you can’t fix,” but that’s okay – the music keeps us boppin’ with a coffee beat, just enough of a garage sound to keep the total excitement swinging me through the house getting ready for work without the need for caffeine. It’s all built in. Shoutouts goes to the different rhythms of Twisted Babe and The Illest Of Men. A versatile band worth seeking out. I can’t find them in the usual hotspots, but here’s a link to their myspace page so you can contact them about release dates, etc: Illimanjaro

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Olivea Watson - Dirty Noise

Delicious New Orleans Cajun gospel intro to a normal church-going family with children story. “Sunday morning I hear mama calling down the hall, 'Get dressed, we’re going to church – I don’t wanna hear your talk.'” Mama, I’m sure with the best of intentions goes on to say, “put on your Sunday best, we gotta go clean up your Dirty Mess.” ‘Taint mammas fault – it’s what preachers do – make people feel superior to others and blame them for the ills of the family. Mama will probably never be trained that talk like this will chase her kids far far from God. At least till they have kids of their own and the cycle starts again. What we need is more people readin’ the words of Jesus and less people preachin’. At this point in the song the little one is thinking, “I’m a sinner, I’m a liar, I’m all those bad things, I’m made of fire. There is nothing my mama can do, she can’t give me no virtue.” The child, however knows what to do when things get truly outta hand, “I’m going to ask God to forgive me, I’m going to repent.” But for my money stayng out late on Saturday night and playing music worth shoutin’ about is not a reason to repent, but to rejoice. Very cool music, very cool song – thanks Olivea. Shoutout goes to Way Down Deep where the narrator is aware of someone she’s close to “putting down all the things you thought you found in me.” I love that line, because the truth is the things we think we see in others are usually our own weaknesses. Olivea Watson

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sammy Hagar - I Love This Bar

Get on your red rock and roll shoes. Here we go! “Well, we got winners. We got losers. Chain smokers and boozers. We got hi-techs, we got bikers and plenty of thirsty hitchhikers. And the girls next door dress up like movie stars – Um, hm hm – I love this bar.” Great bar song about a great bar. “And if you get too drunk you can sleep out in your car.” All towns should have a place just like this. “Just walking through the front door puts a smile on my face.” Great fun, and great Saturday night boogie. “Just strolling around the dance floor puts a big smile on my face.” Great singer, fun guitars, and great band make for great fun. Shoutouts for Halfway To Memphis and a country-flavored cover of I’ll Take You There. Did I say great enough? Well, I feel great! Thanks, Sammy. Sammy Hagar

Friday, September 07, 2007

Kate Nash – Foundations

“Everything’s fine. Except you’ve got that look in your eye when I’m telling a story and you find it boring; you’re thinking of something to say.” Kate sure crams a lot into one line, and it’s true, isn’t it? Whenever I’m talking “with” someone I never see them listening, but thinking ahead – they want to talk. I’ve gotten used to this mode over the years. Save all my ‘talking’ for blogs nowadays. LOL!! But, I’ve grown used to listening to people, and find I’m a decent listener, and also find most all people ever do is complain and/or really say nothing at all. “Then I’ll use that voice that you find annoying.” And he still isn’t listening, so she says, “go ahead and have another beer then.” Sadly, this is a relationship song, and sadly there are many relationships like this. The music bounces along and carries the story along perfectly. “Don’t want to look at your face ‘cause it’s making me sick.” Nice work. Shoutouts for D*ckhead and Mariella. Kate Nash

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Eliza Gilkyson - Your Town Tonight

For this hump day party I’m dragging out the table and chairs with bbq sandwiches and limed iced tea to watch the sun set as this beautiful CD plays all the way through. There’s just no way I can pick out one or two songs as a taste of this 7 course dinner. As it cools down out comes the wine. Folk flavored tastes of dreams and schemes leaning with a slightly country flavor. I’ll put on a sliver of Dark Side Of Town on the podcast, but you’ll really want to take in this whole album in a full setting for your personal pleasure. Share it outdoors – the neighbors will not get their shotguns outta the pick-up truck with music this lovely filling the air. Shoutout for Tender Mercies & Jokerman, whose meaning grows each time I hear it. Eliza Gilkyson

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Honeyroot - A Change Is Gonna Come

I’m walking in a dream and enjoying every syllable of this classic coming through a voice from another dimension. The musical background emphasizes the meanings in this song, and I am reminded yet again of just how far we haven’t come as a community of earth dwellers. Thanks! Honeyroot

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wannabe Hasbeens – One More Night

A Monday morning blast-me-out of bed anthem. “I’m all tangled up in your cosmic bait-and-switch. You got me coming in after dark with the vampires on the wall.” How’s that for a love song? Love this line, too: “Dressed in red from the souls that you bleed.” The conceit of this song is that it’s the last night the narrator is going to put up with what’s being thrown at him, but I can tell by the thought put into these lyrics that the final night is still a long way away. A person really and truly fed up would not be this literate. And the music, the music is lovingly pounding, waking me up, making me listen. “I came here for something good, I’d leave right now if I could.” Naw, this relationship still has a long way to go, and that’s good because there may be a lot more cool songs coming from these Wannabe Hasbeens. A fun shoutout for the Jimmy Stewart meditation in rock, Hey George Bailey. The Wannabe Hasbeens

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Audiobook

It takes 7 hours to mow my lawn. That’s just mowing it, forget all the niceties about trimming the hedges, pulling weeds, etc. That very seldom gets done this year, and then only in bits and starts. Mostly because of the rain. The rain is making the vegetation grow wild. Looks good and green and lovely, but there is a matter of fire hazard if we ever stop raining again, so when it’s not raining I’m mowing. What does this have to do with Harry?

Well, in some ways everything a schoolteacher does has to do with Harry. Since Harry first started I’ve found ways of growing older physically. Somewhere in that edge of growing older my eyes have lost their 20-20 edge. Why? Dunno. Doctors say it’s normal. Doesn’t feel that way. Well, the author of Harry has gotten older, too. Harry has gotten older. The story isn’t filled with whooping hilarity anymore. Harry is serious, his co-horts are serious. Growing up is apparently serious business. That’s why my plan has always been to avoid that dreadful state of being.

Anyway, my eyes. I can read, still, with the aide of glasses, but it’s not the same pleasure it was once upon a time. Of course, the books aren’t as pleasurable as they were once upon a time. Luckily, somewhere around Book 4, maybe 5, I discovered the audiobooks. I can keep up with my students without forcing my eyes to peer through glass. That’s been very helpful. But in my car I love music. Music keeps my days light, cheery and creative. So now we’re back to mowing the grass.

I tried mowing the lawn with music in my ears. It’s okay, but not pleasurable. The bass gets drowned out by the mower, as well as the treble. The singers, who often grobble their words even when there are no distractions, end up being even more grobbled by the sound of weeds and grasses being chewed and spit. Somehow I discovered that audiobooks with a great narrator can overcome the shortcomings of music being grobbled. And that’s where Harry came in this summer.

I finished the book. Oh, I have the hard copy here thanks to my daughter ordering me a copy, and did actually curl up with it a chapter or two, but most of the story came to me trough my ears while I was mowing. Mowing went from being a chore to being a pleasure. Harry’s new story is more of an adventure than a fun romp, but mowing the lawn and zapping those weeds that grow so fast with my huge red wand of a mower was great fun in and of itself. The narrator (Jim Dale) is wonderful, and it is intriguing that even the few chapters I curled up to on the couch seemed to spring forth in my mind with his voice, even though the disks were safely tucked away for the night.

So, if you’re still young enough to read without a protecto between you and the book, enjoy the story. But if you find your eyes doing incredibly old things without your permission, may I suggest you try out the audio version. You might find it a perfect cure. And for anyone who wonders, I think Rawlings did an okay job, too. There was always a possibility of a series this predictable having a really cheesy ending, but she pulled it off. No surprises, but no moldy cheese either. Took my mind off of three different weekends of endless mowing, and that’s a feat.

Harry Potter

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Northern Soul Story Vol 1-4

Yesterday I thought there was no way to match the intensity of the motown set. This morning I opened another big package, and out popped these four CDs. These are also compilations, and impossible to select one song to represent the entire set, so I’ll just shoutout all 4 hours of this set.

Collecting the Northern Soul releases of the past few years has been a hobby of mine, and I have a part of my being that loves the soul of the 60s and early 70s. The Northern Soul releases have been sorta underground here in the US, always needing to have a friend mail them here from Europe because the copyright laws here are different. And although they weren’t exactly bootlegs, they are not on large labels either. Many are lovingly put together by the DJs from the Northern Soul movement and were literally recorded from their copies of old 45’s. So, obviously the quality was always hit and miss.

Which brings us to this 4 CD set, released on Sony BMG. This is a major label release, and the sound quality is superb. Another major surprise is the selections for all 4 CDs are also excellent. So, whether you are an old-time collector of the Northern Soul collections, or brand new to the phenomena, this set is a must-have. Sony has chosen to put these out separately instead of as a box set, so purchasing a portion at a time is not a financial burden.
In the US soul music sorta disappeared from public consciousness, but in the UK there were clubs dedicated to keeping the music alive by having a DJ play them. 4 of these clubs are represented in this set: Twisted Wheel, Golden Touch, Blackpool Mecca, and Wigan Casino. The music is soul at its finest. There’s a few ‘hits’, but that’s not the emphasis. The emphasis is on dance and fun. You can click on the links below and see all the fine artists and the selected cuts. Quickly, you’ll hear The Triumphs, Roy Hamilton, Lou Johnson and many other fantastic artists who remain obscure in the general consciousness. There are also more familiar artists represented, James & Bobby Purify, Little Richard, Lee Dorsey, Shirley Ellis, James Carr – but again, not the huge hits that made them household names, but the songs that were played at parties and in clubs to help people dance and enjoy themselves.

You cannot help but feel good when this music is playing, and if you have a music loving friend, here is another highly recommended Christmas gift. There’s not a bad cut here, so it’s easy to simply put the cd on and join the dancing yourself if you’re the DJ at your party. Expect many smiles and lots of dancing.

Vol 1 Twisted Wheel
Vol 2 Golden Torch
Vol 3 Blackpool Mecca
Vol 4 Wigan Casino

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Underdogs - LOL

I just went to AMC to check out info on the Underdogs just out of curiosity, and the band - though very obviously rock - is listed as R&B? Why? Because they were released on Motown. So, the prejudice continues. The essay, written by Andrew Hamilton, is very interesting to read, and does not contain the prejudices mentioned above.

Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 7: 1967

Me speechless? Maybe that’s the wrong word. Pleasantly overwhelmed. I’ve sang the praises of earlier incarnations of this series, and even suggested you should buy a complete set of the 6 earlier boxes for your Valentine. This time around it’s early enough to suggest you start saving for Christmas. If there is a soul music lover in your family, nothing will please them more than this box. This new collection is every Motown single that appeared in the year 1967, along with a few alternative takes and dj promos. There’s some really fun things that remind us that there were extreme prejudices in 1967 also. A rock group on Motown? Who remembers the Underdogs? The songs are actually pretty good, but went unheard because of the innate prejudice in radio rogrammers who do not want to be challenged.

The collection includes the a-side and the b-side of the hits and those that should have been hits. This is not just a collection for those who collect history – this set is honestly extremely listenable. I’ll be munching this many times over the coming months, and it’s truly an early Christmas present for me. I’m not going to list everything on here, you can find that easy enough by following the link below. A 5 ½ hour taste of heaven with Stevie Wonder, the Contours, Shorty Long, The Temptations, The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas, Brenda Holloway, and lots and lots more. Many of this were the soundtrack to the summer of love! Make someone happy, and buy one for yourself, too. And if you missed my Valentines list, I’ll add the rest of the links below.

I guess the simplest way to show how cool these sets are is that if my house were burning and I could only grab one pile of things, it would be this series from Hip-O Select.

Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 7: 1967

Earlier sets:
Motown Complete Singles Vol 1
Motown Complete Singles Vol 2
Motown Complete Singles Vol 3
Motown Complete Singles Vol 4
Motown Complete Singles Vol 5
Motown Complete Singles Vol 6

Bedouin Soundclash - Walls Fall Down

“I had these walls, built them so strong. Built when I was young in wars I’ve won.” The story starts here and remains fascinating as I dance circles around myself. The beat is slightly reggae hip-hop calypso move me around and who cares what the correct label is as long as I can’t stop moving style. Skalicious is the world eartaste chooses. The voice is a treat, the music infectious, and the story is a joy to participate in. “Beneath a shelter built by many hands. There is a stone and you've locked the door.” Alright and amen! Very tasty. Shoutouts for the marvelous acapella Hush and Hearts In The Night. Bedouin Soundclash