Monday, March 31, 2008

Nelo – Walkin’ Around

“I look up and I look back down, I see a funny little man who spins the world around. Well, he’s three feet tall with a stick in his hand. When he smiles, he laughs. It was part of the plan.” Your guess is as good as mine where these lyrics came from, but like the music they are fun to hear and it lets me know that spring is in the air and summer is not far behind. “I was thinking that I would touch the sky and spread the sunshine all around. I could open up these clouds. I’ve been crazy for a couple days.” Thanks for waking me up today Nelo (rhymes with hello)! Nelo

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mike Montrey - A Space Inside My Head

The guitar starts a good groove, and then a beautifully integrated saxophone smiles on me for a bit. “I’ve preserved a space inside my head for moments when I’ll be dead.” Never really thought about this possibility before. It’s hard enough to try to remember things I need to do tomorrow; much less save them for the time I’m laying around not breathing. But, hey, Mike is having such a great time sharing these thoughts I’ll dance while he goes on giving color codes to his thought about old spittoons and bring in some empty boxes to fill in more. “I don’t expect you to see everything, I don’t want you to.” I enjoy listening to the production – the saxophone plays as part of the music, not over and above it. “Selfish sometimes I might be, but certain moments are meant only for me.” Thanks for the fun! Shoutout for Take Me Down Mississippi. The CD will be available on CD Baby. In the meantime, keep up with news about the release date at his website, Mike Montrey

Nigel Clothier - Season Of The Rose

“Took the part of John the Baptist through no fault of my own.” When the Lord has something for me to do I am a willing partner, but there is a part of me that realizes the part I’ve been handed is not something I would voluntarily do. Usually, almost always, it’s something my entire being would normally rebel against. Me? You talking to me? You want me to talk to that stranger? Not something I’m well-equipped to do. My small talk is unimaginative and non-existent. You sure you’re talking to me? Well, that’s how this song works for me. “You make me tell the world when the truth is known. All those perfect imperfections make the season of the rose.” Cool. Nigel Clothier

Saturday, March 29, 2008

James McMurtry – Fast As I Can

“He was a drinkin’ man with a guitar problem.” Fun lyric to introduce this relationship story. “Your nights are getting colder, restless as the wind, I’ll be coming over fast as I can.” The humor continues as life continues as we need to laugh at ourselves or we’ll never make it through this life alive. “He has some lines but he never used them. She didn’t need much talking to. He thought he’d died and gone to Houston by the time the dawn burned off the dew.” Shoutout for Walk Between The Raindrops. James McMurtry

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cocoa Tea - Save Us Oh Jah

“Look how long I’ve been warning, but the people weren’t listening.” This two hour dance filled party double CD covers the years 1983-2006. Cocoa Tea has quietly been making fun reggae music for over 20 years. Well known in some circles, he’s never become a household name in the manner of Bob Marley or Desmond Dekker. This is a wonderful introduction for everyone who has missed his steady growth. Of course the hits are included, but a healthy taste of his variety is included. Warning – Once you’ve tasted the work you’ll probably start seeking out the complete works. Shoutout for the extreme soul of Can't Be Real & the reggae-pop of Lost My Sonia. Cocoa Tea

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kris Kristofferson – In The News

Read about the sorry way he done somebody's daughter
Chained her to a heavy thing and threw her in the water
And she sank into the darkness with their baby son inside her
A little piece of truth and beauty died

Burning up the atmosphere and cutting down the trees
The billion dollar bombing of a nation on its knees
Anyone not marching to their tune they call it treason
Everyone says God is on his side

See the lightning, hear the cries
Of the wounded in a world in Holy war
Mortal thunder from the skies
Killing everything they say they're fighting for

Broken babies, broken homes
Broken-hearted people dying everyday
How'd this happen, what went wrong
Don't blame God, I swear to God I heard him say

Not in my name, not on my ground
I want nothing but the ending of the war
No more killing, or it's over
And the mystery won't matter anymore

Broken dreamers, broken rules
Broken-hearted people just like me and you
We are children of the stars
Don't blame God, I swear to God he's crying too

Kris Kristofferson

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Motown Complete Singles Vol 9 (1969)

Regular readers will know how much I love this series. This time out I'm going to have to not exactly give this an awful review - no sense in that; but warn you to proceed with caution. If you are a completest and already have the rest of this set, then by all means, don't even bother to read the rest of this - you need this to complete the 60's on Motown.

If you do not have the rest of the series yet, I urge you to start with an earlier year. When you've collected the other years, this one will mean more. There are still hits - plenty. There are at least 15 songs here that are on constant, regular rotation on oldies stations. You can find those in many Motown collections. What makes this series great are all the songs that weren't hits that should have been. 1969 is rare in that the ones that weren't hits are usually for good reason. I'm not going to run down all the mistakes made by the company that year, but just try to imagine Soupy Sales on Motown and you'll know in your heart what happened.

The last anthology had some of my favorite Motown song titles. This one has my favorite Motown group name: Captain Zap & The Motortown Cut-Ups. Whatd'ya want? This is the year we landed on the moon. Six disks, over 70 45's released in 1969. The great stuff is still great (Friendship Train, Psychedelic Shack, etc), and this is the first appearance of the Jackson 5 for history buffs. It was also their first hit, so nothing rare here from them. Three completely different versions of Green Grow The Lilacs make me wonder what 'folk' catalog they bought into in 1969. None of the three is a successful recording (Soupy Sales, Joe Harnell and The Originals all gave it a shot on Motown).

I prefer pointing out the strengths in my reviews. The strength of this collection is that it completes a fantastic decade for Motown. Recommended for those who have the other 8 sets. Start with any one of the other 8 sets & fill in year by year. Then add this one last.

Motown Complete Singles Vol 9 (1969)

Previous 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
Motown Complete Singles Vol 7
Motown Complete Singles Vol 8
Motown Complete Singles Vol 9

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

David Byboth – Swimming For The Surface

“It’s just another paradise you’ll never get into.” Playing this album is like having a coupla friends over with a few beers and guitars. Nothing electric going here, no studio tricks. Just a few folks together for a good time singing songs about Texas, lost loves, good neighbors and old friends. This particular song had a few lines of thoughtful poetry included, and I love sharing good poetry. Here’s a small taste of this one:

“The voices keep on yelling from that place inside my head.
I’m trying not to listen, but they never go to bed.
I’m holding in my last breath as long as I can,
Swimming for the surface and drowning on dry land.

By Saturday my Sunday best lay crumpled on the floor.
And the rain keeps blowing sideways through the hole kicked in the door.
Tomorrow really scares me like it did just yesterday,
‘Cause those dragons keep on coming, no matter how many I slay.”

This album isn’t available quite yet, but it should be soon, so get over to the website & reserve yourself a copy. As soon as a proper link opens up, I’ll post it here.

Shoutouts for My Mind’s Eye and Habit I Can’t Seem To Break. David Byboth

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Kooks – Mr. Maker

Fresh, ear-warming wake-up music with a summer beat. Never too early to start celebrating summer vacation, and if this is any indication, we’re in for a wild, free, energetic and enjoyable summer. “It’s alright, it’s okay, because of the love he gave away.” Lots of acoustic guitars, with just the right amount of electricity. All of eartastes 90’s dreams are coming true. Music is returning to melody, fun & variety! I’m outliving my usefulness and that feels great! The Kooks

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Delirious? – We Give You Praise

“When the road is rough and steep and it leads a heart to weep, there’s an ocean of tears that you’ve held through the years but we’re not stopping here.” I try my best to neglect these holy days because my friend Paul of Tarsus has taught me to hold each day in holy esteem, and to live each day as if my Savior has risen anew (Romans 14:5, etc). But I’ve been made aware of how important this day is to some and have decided that this year I will share praise with my friends who walk the earth as participants. “The King of all the earth has saved us from ourselves.” Amen to that. The kingdom of God is within, and how often I neglect this truth. “Through the avenues of time You meet me where I am. We walk with glory and pain, and You’ve broken through the chain, so there’s no stopping here. A glorious resurrection day for all my friends, and may we all learn to experience this resurrection daily.

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15


Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Duke Spirit - My Sunken Treasure

“This night I wrestle with pride on the floor.” Have at it, guys. Wrestle on while I dance. This band has many many flavors enhancing the vocalist. The flavor here is deeper and heavier than the set we discussed earlier this week. The drum and bass keep the beat skewering across the dance floor with a sneaky smirk as the vocalist digs through her soul. The psychedelic guitars dreaming this song out are sweet sweet dessert. Shoutouts for You Really Wake Up The Love In Me and Neptune's Call (“I tasted the salt in you and now I have a tongue tattoo.”) Fun party! The Duke Spirit

Friday, March 21, 2008

Songdog - Wretched Sinners Song (Album)

->Words tasted from this must-have album . . . <-

Reuben has a cute tattoo of a mermaid on his back. He walks to the beach because she likes to hear the ocean’s song. There’s a speck of light way out at sea. She says, “Take me there, it’ll be just you and me.” When they find him the next day floating in the shadows, his tattoo is gone and the mermaid is free.

She says she’s feeling woozy when she opens her eyes. Sometime’s knocking at the cubicle door. I used to regret stuff, I don’t anymore. There’s fresh blood on the crown of thorns. The gigs all over and the feedback’s gone.

One night she met the devil on a windy mountain road. There was a single star trembling in a lavender sky. And like two melancholy lovers they walked to where the street lights end. She held him in her arms and he started to cry. She kissed his eyelids closed and wiped away his tears. She knew how much he loved her ‘cause he wrote it in dust on a star. He lit a fire in her that no god could douse. The heat whispered in her ear was tender like summer wind in grass.

->I intrude. Interlude. Little short stories wrapped in ribbon as poems. These folks are living for the purpose of enriching our lives with imagery that smiles deep in the roots that seldom break through the earth unless there is a flood. <-

I got your photo up on the mantelpiece among the childhoods- yours and mine. Me and my ventriloquist dummy, we talk about you all the time.

I’m drunk on altar wine. There’s room for one more soul in hell. She was tugging at her hemline as she walked into the bar. I picked up this lawyer’s wife, bought her mousaka and a rose. I took a long pull on my flask. There’s no forgiveness, so I won’t even ask.

I asked the lady doctor to invite me ‘round her place so I could lick off the anti-aging cream she rubs into her face.

->I intrude. Apologize. I’m smiling at the humor, laughing out loud from time to time, and forced to not type it all because I can’t keep up and my laughter hides some words. There’s a force here you’ll only hear by visiting on your own. <-

I bought a rose from the guy at the traffic lights, only for the thorn. I pressed it as hard as I could into my palm, as I rode across town to your place. A church bell rings like it’s just going through the motions.

I’m on a frosty bench with the obituaries as the heart of a ghost is beating in me. A woman sits down at the other end. I said, “Move along lady, I don’t need a new friend.” “You’re such a prick,” she says. And I know what she means.

There’s a song in my head. Something ancient by some one-hit wonder. I find a bench in park and feed the pigeons a stale cheeseburger. I stop and listen to a burgomeister shouting hallelujah. Man, you should have heard her. The skies the color of a milkshake and the hip-flask in my hand ran out an hour ago.

->I intrude. Explain. My laughter is pure joy simply because my brain is enthralled at the sheer intelligence I am listening to. There is life here that is not humor but truth. And this brings deep joy to my heart while tears flow from my eyes. <-

There’s no way back to a safe place. I’m twirling in deep space, alone. Like the song said, there’s no direction home. So I kill some time in a secondhand bookstore run by this albino guy with ahead shaped liked a Halloween pumpkin. I stand at the window watching the wind rolling a coke can.

I stay till she falls asleep. Play some solitaire while watching the moonlight play across her ass. The last Barcardi she poured growing stale in the glass. Don’t pay me no heed. Broken hearted is my default mode. Her kid’s comic book lies open close by where she lies.

When you came in the door the draft from the past blew out my candle. So you found God at last. Don’t play much poker no more. And you smiled and said, “I’m fine.”

->I intrude. Attention. There’s much more to this album than you’re reading here. The music is important. The musicians tempt the words, enhance the words, challenge the words. They are important to the success of this beautiful work.

I say without any hesitation that if you do not experience this album that you have not experienced 2008. Allow yourself to be moved – alone. Even in the small crowd of instruments the singer is alone, and best heard alone.<-

I pity all those without wings, may God have mercy on their souls.

When he’s done she stands staring up at the stars wondering at the point of it all.

As he locks up and steps out into the dark, the night breaks out into a round of applause.

I tell you kid, it’s tough. Best you don’t ever grow up.

Now I don’t mean to pretend we meant that much in the end, but when the stars shine down on me, I’m glad they’re shining down on you too.

I walk the paths of righteousness, it just gets on your nerves.

It's only disappointment keeps me holed up in this room. But hell, I swam in disappointment inside my mother's womb. Won't you drive me up the mountain and just let my wheelchair roll?

->All poems quoted above were written by Lyndon Morgans<-


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Paul Gilbert - Norwegian Cowbell

I’m just leaving Utopia when this tune comes on, and it finishes as I reach the junction that leads to either Bandera or Lost Maples. My ears are taking it all in – first I’m thinking 80’s retro pop rock. Then the cowbell pops in. No kidding. Back to the 70’s. The solo is overriding everything and staying interesting and staying intense, with quotes from many places – Queen, Led Zepplin, and every Southern Rock band in existence. Just when I think, okay, that’s enough of a good thing the drummer goes wild and the song ends. Deep breath. What a wild ride. Paul Gilbert

Yoav - There Is Nobody

Action packed adventure. The anticipation of communing with nature, watching the birds building nests, soaking in sun, dream colors. Nobody. It is a true wonder to contemplate that there’s 10,000 visitors to the natural are every year, yet I can walk for 4 hours and see no one except an armadillo or two. “Deep in a hole” the narrator is telling me as I watch for the turn-in. “A hole in you.” The music is bouncy, yet sustaining. Yoav

Raheem Devaughn – Butterflies

Perfect title for this trip because the butterflies are busy busy. I’m wondering just what the heck they do all winter. I know they’re here laying eggs that’ll become caterpillars, cocoons, then many more butterflies for the late Spring & summer pleasure of my eyes. Where the heck were these few hiding? Raheem is off in another part of the brain saying “Kiss me, like when I dream of you.” The music has me itching to leave the vehicle and get out and dance. “I wish I could find myself, but it’s a losing fight.” Raheem Devaughn

Tom Baxter – Better

A guy with a guitar intoning “our love has changed”. Talking about feelings and stuff as a piano joins him and he slowly reaches a falsetto that works up here in the hills. I get the required passes and drive in and park. I get out of the vehicle lost in a orchestration looking up at the hills I’ll be crawling up very soon. Life doesn’t get better. Good music, beautiful colors as trees start whispering their reason for being by sharing new greens. Many greens. Lots of leftovers from winter, with browns and reds and yellows mixed in. But the greens, almost blue in flavor. It’s greens. Tom Baxter

Yeasayer – Sunrise

I visit these trails for a primal experience. Yeasayers is one of those groups that can’t be described by traditional methods. Sorta like those communal groups in the sixties making party all day long, singing while giving birth and recording it. Lots of percussion, tasty jazz flavored bass, and a choral group welcoming the day. I won’t reach mystic canyon for an hour, and have no need for quiet yet. These guys, with their reach for describing the wonders of nature are perfect companions. I can picture them easily performing in the natural area without electricity because they are exuding electricity in the performance. Shoutouts for Wait For The Summer, Ah Weir, Forgiveness, and Red Cave. The bears and mountain lions are entranced as I dance up the trail. Yeasayer

The Duke Spirit - I Do Believe

I just finished the first steep section of the west trail, and need this song. Heart pounding, breath digging for oxygen. I do believe, and am grateful that there is a rock bench set up for a time of reflection. In the shoutout tune, Wooden Heart, Duke Spirit reminds me, in an alltomorrowsparties way that I’m here to renew my energy and joy in being alive. I’m sitting down and hearing “all I have is all that I’m feeling.” The addition of the trumpet makes my meditations perfectly peaceful. “I would understand your heart if I could feel it.” Wow. Loureed could not have said it any better. “The sky is more substance than you will ever be.” Poetry and lovely music to humble me before this bigsky view. The next shoutout fits as I lift myself up off the rock and appreciate the depths of Sovereign. “I’m all alone now.” Duke Spirit

Asa - Fire On The Mountain

As I pass the entrance of ‘primitive camping area E’ I am literally on top of this mountain and Asa is singing with a light reggae beat that life is beautiful but complicated. “Tell me who is responsible for what we teach your children? Is it the internet, or stars of television?” Neither answer should be true, yet in my heart I know that reality dictates both are. I want to bring my class up here to see that life has different meanings than they’re being taught, but NCLB has dictated that there will never again be field trips. I am sad. I am sad of my anger toward the system. I’m supposed to be up here renewing my energy, but am brought face to face with the reality that the students I teach may never see this mountaintop. I’m reaching the next steep area, heading downward into the canyon as Asa calms me down and lightens my spirit with Peace (“I want to run away”) and So Beautiful (“It’s you I see in my dreams, every day I pray for you”). It’s true, this area is beautiful and life is beautiful. Asa

Eddie Vedder - No Ceiling

“Moving on a scene surreal, I know my heart will never be far from here. Sure as I’m breathing, sure as I’m sad, I’ll keep this wisdom.” These tunes, from a soundtrack called Into The Wild, are the perfect way to enter Mystic Canyon. I shut off my player as I sit by the creek fed by a hundred springs. Later, after emerging from the canyon and seeing the tents of campers dotting around the pond I turn on the player again and listen to Hard Sun and End Of The Road. Nice music, great day. There will be peace in the valley – someday. A perfect eding to a perfect day with a fire burning and Eddie singing Guaranteed (“All my destinations will accept the one that’s me. . . a mind full of questions and a teacher in my soul. . .Don’t come closer or I’ll have to go. . . Everyone I come across in cages they’ve bought, they think of me and my wandering but I’m never what they thought. . .Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere. . .Got my indignation, but I’m pure in all my thoughts. I’m alive!” Eddie Vedder

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Van Morrison - How Can A Poor Boy

“Chase my congregation, chase my flock. I was a shepherd of men. Chase the wild goose, chase the pot of gold. Chase the rainbow’s end. How can a poor boy deliver this message to you when you don’t believe anything that’s true?” A good, solid blues beat delivers a beautiful opening cut to a solid album. Bare-bones band that sounds like it was recorded live in the studio. “I’ve been anointed, been appointed , even been magnified.” Harmonica, fiddle, acoustic guitars, good old fashioned tasty home-spun blues with a perfect touch of humor for spice. “Tell me, what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Only the shadow knows.” LOL. Shoutout for Keep It Simple. Van Morrison

Imaginary Johnny – Fleas

“Don’t take my patience, my reserves are exhausted. Don’t take my patience for granted.” The narrator has a lot on his mind, and buries his rambling thoughts and meanderings of how social lies and disease get spread. And it’s all happening in the mix of a slow dance beat surrounded by drums, bass and guitars whirling around his story. “From the high-dive to the gutter grate they’re spreading fear.” Imaginary Johnny

Sweet Japonic - Fill Me Up

“I wanna be new again.” Sung with conviction, it’s easy to feel this guy has the optimism he’s narrating. “Turn me loose.” Funky beat makes it easy to appreciate the hump-day dance. Instrumentation here is fun, the mandolin is presented in a pure rock form. Especially when playing the exciting solo. “Just be cool. Like a mandolin.” Sweet Japonic

Phil Christie – Skeleton

“I like your skeleton, baby. I like your style. I like your collarbone and your suicide smile. The way you hang there seems to light up the room. Just like some Joan of Arc before she was doomed.” What a great pick-up line, LOL!!! The story continues, with the band pushing the funky dance to the border of texas and louisiana. Great fun. “There’s just no telling how the storybook ends.” Phil Christie

Portishead - Nylon Smile

“I’d like to laugh at what you said, but I just can’t find a smile.” The narrator sounds exactly like this. Depressed. So why bring this up on hump day? Well, the band has created a dance beat around the narrator, and let’s face it, there’s one or two dancers out on the floor who are depressed that there’s two more whole days of work until Friday night’s dance. “I can’t say nothing good. Nothing is so bad.” Excellent composition. Portishead

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Heath Street - Yellow Shoes

"Standing up against the chain link fence, I thought I saw you. Turns out it was just a boy. I put on my face and tried to walk it soldier straight past the 24 hour store. It's been a real good week. Kept myself well-occupied. Most nights I get my rest." A good short story going on here. Doesn't look like song lyrics on the page, but they are sung with melodic taste. "I'm quiet in my head." That may be so, but the guitars playing in the background are wonderfully not quiet. Precisely picked. Superb tone. Excitingly acoustic. "It's funny how I picture telling everything to you."

Shoutouts for Falling Softly ("been this way before, but no one ever said bleeding was easy") and Arboretum ("the light falls on the flowering trees that line the path as you look at me"). A special shoutout for the last song on the album, Ain't Gonna Let My Soul To Fly, because it brings back special memories of guitars jangling in my life. A folk song with friends joining in to extend the smile beyond my face. Thanks!

Heath Street

Monday, March 17, 2008

Soko - I'll Kill Her

This has been my morning wake up song for several weeks now. Also been my lunch & dinner song. For whatever reason – charm, humor, old age, I can’t tell, this song sticks with me, and I love hearing it. All of that’s beside the point, today it is my Monday wake-up song. The story is old – the young girl can’t believe her boyfriend is seeing another woman. And, since there’s nothing new under the sun, the narrator blames the other girl, not her flaky boyfriend. What’s fantastic here isn’t the story, as I said, it’s nothing new. Adolescent feelings will always be adolescent feelings. However, the presentation of this story is exciting and a joy to hear. Even though the theme of killing another human isn’t particularly hilarious, when heard from an adolescent love-panged narrator, it brings a wide smile to my face. Soko has won my heart. The shout-out tunes are just as fabulous: Take My Heart & It's Raining Outside. Soko

BB Brunes - J'Ecoute Les Cramps

I was talking about Soko with a buddy, and the theme of the general lack of the ability to hear what other countries are listening to on their radio came up a few weeks back. It's a common complaint of mine - in this high-tech world teh US has isolated itself from good music being performed elsewhere. Well, my friend contacted a friend who knew someone in France, and joyfully eartaste has received a box of CDs from France. BB Brunes is an exciting rock group that gets me up to dance without any effort. These guys are simply great. I have no idea what they’re saying, but that’s okay – they rock their socks off in a manner that rocks my socks off. Excellent. Shoutouts for Gang & Blonde Comme Moi. BB Brunes

Vanessa Paradis - Divine Idylle

Another favorite from the box. Vanessa has a perfect eartaste sound – no way to describe the era. Could be mid-60’s or early 70’s pop or 80's retro-to-60s, but there’s some production twists that squarely place the music in 2008. In other words, ageless – always fun. She’s able to do some real fun things vocally, which makes the album a joy. A very good guitar player keep the excitement especially tasty, and I have to add some kudos to the percussionists. Everyone is performing to top standards in this kitchen. Fun to listen to. Shoutouts for Chet Baker & Les Piles.
Vanessa Paradis

More French Singles

I hope you don’t feel I’m slighting any of these artists by not writing a paragraph about each. It’s not that they don’t deserve it, they do. All of these singles/artists are worth seeking out:
Christophe Willem - Jacques A Dit b/w Quelle Chance
Pascale Picard - Thinking Of It b/w Unconscious Liars
Thomas Dutronc - Jeune, Je Ne Savais Rien
Christophe Mae - On S'Attache
Dany Brillant - Viens Danser
Jenifer - Tourner Ma Page
Renan Luce - Voisines

Sunday, March 16, 2008

REM - Hollow Man

The piano creeps in quiet, slow, plaintive and a mournful voice starts telling us why all this emotion is so important.

I've been lost inside my hell
Echoes fall on me
I took the prize last night for complicatedness
For saying things I didn't mean and don't believe

Believe in me - believe in nothing
Corner me and make me something
I've become the hollow man now
I've become the hollow man I see

The story continues with a wonderfully screwed up dysfunctional narrator admitting his guilt. This will become a classic song because of its build-up from despondency alone at the piano to complete hopelessness in the middle of loud rock guitars, bass and drums. Beautiful composition with an exceptional arrangement that never pretends to be joyful in the face of depression. When I heard the single last month I was sure this would become a favorite album, and now that it’s arrived I am not only sure for myself, I am confident that many others will pick up on the outstanding rock and roll this band is still capable of. I’m pleased for humanity that poets can be allowed to perform from this deep in their guts. Shoutouts for Horse To Water (“you’re only as big as your battles”), Man-Sized Wreath (“everybody looking like they just don’t care”), and Living Well Is The Best Revenge (“the gospel according to who?”). REM

Saturday, March 15, 2008

DigJelly – Communication

“Get in line and just take a number. You and I and misery love company.” LOL!!! The singer captures my understanding of communication between a man and a woman exactly. I’ve been caught in tis trap way too many times, and it took many years of deliberate focus and careful meditation to figure that word out. You sit on a therapists couch, which for whatever reason has always been a woman for the women I’ve been involved in “therapy” with, and well, there is a bottom line here, I’m just having trouble getting it out. I know for a fact I’ll alienate every 2nd woman out there who happens to read that. I know that from my experience with bluntness in the past. Some women get bluntness, the others are offended by it. But in the end, who cares. Not like people are waiting in line to pay for reading this dissertation. But, you should definitely pay for this album.

Okay, communication, to a woman, means the male listens, does exactly what she says, in the exact order and the exact time she tells him without opening his mouth even once. And he damn well better smile while following through. Even then, he’s going to forget a step, and she knows it, and after 30 years he knows it, and it’s and endless communication process of one –sided talk talk talk. The male in the process is damned to hell forever should he even think about responding. And, truth be told, she’s damned him to hell anyway because she already thinks she knows what he’s thinking even though he’s never allowed to express himself.

What’s all this blah-blah-blah got to do with this wonderfully sexy rock song? The lyric writer captured all these truths that took me thirty years of marriage to understand, and the artists capture all that power in a 3 ½ minute rock song. I’m in awe. The narrator shouts, as honestly as a woman can, “Well, I don’t care what they say, and I don’t care what they ask for.” Yep, true communication as expressed by a 21st century schizoid woman. I love it. The music is as powerful as the lyric, which makes for a great song to sing at any Saturday night party. And for others who love to sing loud while driving down the highway, this album works on any day, at any time of day or night. Nice work.

Mega shoutouts for Silver (“you can open up my world and take me to a place where we can melt away”), In The Name Of Honor (“disguised in liberty you will save me”), and Set Me Up (“you said it was an accident, I know you planned it.”).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sia - The Girl You Lost To Cocaine

The title does not suggest “party”. Luckily, the band brings the party with it, so the song will not hurt your moves. I thought about this a lot. I love to make people think while they dance, but some might consider this depressing. Well, where better to consider truths than at a party? Let’s face it, this could just as easily be the girl you lost to beer or to an accident while driving in a blind rage after you said something mean to her at the party. I thought about how if this was a song about a girl you lost to another man, or even to another woman, no one would think twice. Of course, I wouldn’t think of it twice in any account if the music wasn’t as good as the lyric, but it is, and I enjoy playing it at my Friday party. Shoutout for I Am No Good For You (“I’m seeing ghosts in everything I do”). Sia

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Leon Russell - End Of A Love Affair

“The teardrops on my face reflect the time of yet another place.” Delicate imagery that allows a picture to be formed in my mind that covers many times and places in my own lifetime. Lovely memories form while the narrator sings his heart out of his current sufferings. “In this dark room the pain can’t be erased.” The band has a samba-like flavor creating a movie in my mind with me as the star of too many little deaths. The shoutout tune is Last Dance (“you look at me and turn away when I speak your name”). Leon Russell

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Devotchka - Along The Way

“Let me die in my lovers arms, let me live through the night.” This hump day dance is covered in tequila sunrises simply because the colors accent the movement of this exciting album by flavors difficult to describe. Can you have slavic-sounding gypsy music with mariachis accenting in just the right spots? Why not? These guys pull it off masterfully, and I’m taken around the world with a cup of thick coffee in one hand and the worm from the tequila bottle in the other. “There’s a little piece of land in me that no other man can own.” Whirling with pleasures. Topped with whipped cream and the lonely bulls of a starless night made romantic by a single candle. Shoutouts for Basso Profundo and Comrade Z. Devotchka

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jack Johnson - Rodeo Clowns

“Here comes the music.” With words going 70 miles an hour, this is fun stuff – I can picture the rodeo clowns running around the ring to the beat wildly making sure the guy laying flat on his back doesn’t get trampled by the bull. It’s fun to try to figure out who thought of that sport. As much fun as figuring out who figured out it’s okay to eat something that popped out of a chicken. Someone had to come up with it. Around here the kids are practicing pig wrestling so they can win a belt buckle. Weird what people do. The shoutout tune has fewer tongue excercises, Let Your Dreams Be Dreams (“you know this living ain’t as hard as it seems”). Good philosophical advice wrapped in a fun acoustic tune. Jack Johnson

Monday, March 10, 2008

Phoebe Killdeer and the Short Straws – Jack

“Even though you make me melt, you are just like dynamite”. The song describes itself. Wonderful for waking up the hazy Monday morning – better than good coffee. The band does a wonderful job of creating a fresh sound that makes promises of a great and fulfilling week of joy. Shoutouts for Paranoia, a fun wake-up dance piece, and a gorgeous mood piece called Let Me (“let’s go now far from here, where the air is fresh and clear.” Phoebe Killdeer

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Kate Russell - Table 32

Nothing better on a Sunday afternoon than to be slapped with guilt for pre-judging situations. Kate does this by telling the story of a waitress observing a couple at table 32. As the waitress thinks about the guy, she observes the girl looks “half your age, why don’t you go on back home to your wife, but some things you can’t say.” The story continues and is worth seeking out. Kate then starts a party rolling with the shoutout Kick Down The Door, with stick-kicking musicians enjoying their moment of country rock flavors. The songs have a good combination of ballad and texas two-step happiness. To be released soon, watch her Myspace site: Kate Russell

Duffy – Serious

“I’m a trophy on your arm,” she sings with soul. “An accessory that suits your new suede boots. I get a feeling deep down inside that something is just not right.” The narrator is looking for the guy to open up and talk. The draw to this song is the slow, afternoon on the veranda dance quality done with exquisite taste. Sure, there’re things wrong with the relationship, but the musicians rise to the occasion and still keep the dance alive. The first shoutout tune, Mercy, heads in another direction – 1966 girl group soul. The other shoutout is more of a torch song to be performed in a smoky nightclub, Syrup & Honey. Very nice combination of flavors! Duffy

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Lions Rampant - 70-30

Texas 1965. “And I don’t got time to waste on you.” Okay, I’ll be straight, these guys aren’t from Texas. A three-piece group that plays loudbluesrockpunk with a sound circa 1965, which was being done great in Texas 43 years ago. Sure, the Texas groups were imitating the Stones, but so be it. What’s scary to me now that I live here in Texas is that all those albums I collected by Texas punks from 1965-1967 were not as well known in Texas as they were elsewhere in the world. I mention some of these great groups and get blank stares. Guess Texans like to believe the young folk here were never rebellious. Whatever.

Am I off-track? Maybe not. These guys are loudbluesrockpunk and certainly proud of it. They even claim to play “rock and roll”. Who says that anymore? And, the good news is their claim is true. They aren’t from Texas, but the next best place – Ohio. “You can’t get what you want, you gotta take what you need.” I don’t want to guess what the title means. Google said it could mean anything from an insulin treatment to a partnership plan. A funny business page said that 30% of the people in this world do 70% of the work. As anyone in high school could tell you – they’re way off, the truth is about 10% of the people do 100% of the work. The rest party and buy the answers. So, the internet lies. What else is new?

The Lions Rampant are solidly behind the concept of 100% of people having a good party on Saturday night, and are happy to be on the bill. Shoutouts include Cryin’ All The Time, another fast blues; Skin ‘N Bones (“you don’t like the way I live my life”); Shotgun Shells, which bleeds texaspunkblues; and Need A Man (“you need another trophy for your shelf”). The Lions Rampant

Friday, March 07, 2008

Davide Ravera - Sonya Yana Meme Komba

“Driving 100 miles an hour down the land where dreams are sold, hands of the devil are going to keep me on the track.” It’s unfair to review someone who has inspired me to write songs of my own, as well as sing his songs whenever I perform, but such is life. I can handle unfair as long as it’s honest. What’s really unfair is that Davide is not on the cover of the Rolling Stone and People magazines this week in honor of the release of this new album of good old songs. “Eyes of my baby going to tell me no lie, she’s a killer in love with a suicide.” Davide sings his heart and experience through the eyes of a surrealist poet seeing every hidden truth in what others perceive as reality. Shoutouts for Big City Blues (“Everyone’s a liar, everyone’s a cop”) & Wind From Seattle. You might have to ask this shy guy where the heck you can order an album from, but it’s truly worth the effort. Very tasty Friday night party, with spicy Italian accented flavors! Davide Ravera

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Strangers Die Every Day - Safer In The Ground

A string trio with a bass and drum tells a powerful story without words. We are traveling to parts unknown simply to explore possibilities and understandings. For me the sound is progressive rock without the hired singer destroying the moment. I can’t count how many times I’ve thought ‘I wish that guy would shut up so I can hear the music’. These players & the composer wisely chose to let us take our own journey through the soul without interference from someone else’s dream. The electric bass and drums accent the music and do not overwhelm. I feel they are an integral part of the mix and enhance the flavors of this delicious meal. Strangers Die Every Day

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Handcuffs - Car Crash

“Practicing zen on a tilt-a-whirl.” This line alone would earn the song a place on my top-ten list this month, but add the fantastic music & the rest of the lyric and I am enjoying this hump-day party with total excitement. I never try to guess where the writers are coming from, I put myself in the lyric. This one is talking about the pills folks take. In my line of work, my friends are forced to take pills by society, because when they don’t “everything’s a car crash”. Their days are horrible for themselves and everyone around them, and law enforcement is often called. There is an interesting related problem that’s a frustration – sometimes, many times, often, drugs are used as a replacement for therapy. So, the drugs become a long-term situation that eats livers for breakfast. Think of your liver being slowly eaten for 20 years and you see the future of too many young people who don’t “fit in” to the expected behaviors. I have no answers, just prayers. Shoutouts for several more powerfully group-based songs, played expertly by the drums, bass and guitar – with an exciting vocalist; I'm Not Laughing, Don't Be Afraid and the blondie flavored First Class Bossa Nova. The Handcuffs

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jack Bruce & Robin Trower - Perfect Place

“Take away the blindfold and hold your head up high!” This album brings up an intriguing question. If the artists are the real thing can they be considered retro? "Don't think about the past or you're gonna burn out way too fast." Doesn’t matter, this is good, old fashioned rock and roll with a perfect taste of blues power. "Don't shift the blame on somebody else." Shoutout for the cream-flavors of Bad Case of Celebrity & Come to Me. Tasty. Jack Bruce & Robin Trower

Monday, March 03, 2008

DigJelly - Time Is Up

“Nothing stuck but needles, there you chose your way.” Blast me out of bed straight back to the 1980’s with this song. It’s unfair to say that, because most of this album sets itself directly in 2008, but this song I’m using to wake my Monday up is the one that is an immediate introduction to a most interesting band. And this is truly a band in the sense that the sum is greater than the parts. All of the instruments are perfectly played for each song, but the sound is pure heaven despite that. I know that sounds odd. But try to think of the Doors without Jim Morrison. Really. They were great with him, average without him. How about Jim Morrison without the Doors? Well, we will never know for sure, but the few things I heard have a similar reasoning – together the musicians outshone the individuals. That’s what’s happening here - the band is feeding off each other beautifully. The guitar is fabulous, the singer a pure joy to hear, the bass perfect, and the drummer – well, it’s a cliché to bring up Keith Moon, so I don’t bring him up, but I mean it – the drummer is accenting everything without overwhelming anything. A band in the true sense – where everyone is feeding off each other’s energy. Shoutouts for Losing Grace (“Children with the dying who bleed blood into their world”) & Deal (“I woke up in hell, it was a jail cell. She got incarcerated, give me some details”). Extraordinary noise! DigJelly

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Dionne Warwick - I'm Going Up

“There’s no regrets in this world, I’ve found.” I love this little line tuck in the middle of a beautiful gospel song. I have a few regret, and one of the largest was when the church went from being Jesus-centered to anti-Moslem centered. I regret that the church decided to fly the American flag higher than the banner of love. I regret that albums like this did not come out during the first Bush administration, the Clinton administration, nor during the current administration. From Kosovo to Somalia to Waco to Iraq, our country has shed blood, needless blood, in the name of Christ. I regret that happened, because I love what Christ stands for. Dionne Warwick, I thank you for being bold enough to sing so freely for Christ and against the so-called heroes in Iraq and the politicians who are keeping this masquerade afloat. When the church turned its eyes toward Bush and away from Christ, a huge gulf emerged between the “church” and I. Not between Jesus, and I, thankfully. I just knew that the Jesus I believed in was not the same Jesus who was carrying an American flag to foreign countries to kill people without any provocation whatsoever, except greed for the resources these countries gave us access to.

My regret is that this music, and sermons like these, were not preached till now. Now, back to Dionne’s song. When you listen closely, she is saying that she is sad that individuals do not feel regret or shame for the hideous acts they have committed, and because of that she is “Going Up” to see the face of Jesus, and allow herself to feel the shame. Beautiful song, exciting sentiment. Let’s hope the album gets lots of play. And, by the way, the voice is as strong and beautiful as ever. Shoutouts for Old Landmark & Rise, Shine And Give God The Glory. Dionne Warwick

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Adele - Right As Rain

The dance excitement night full of honey flavored organ and drums and a soul voice eternal deep with love and the power to reflect a year or two of life filled with joy and youth and still managing to sound fresh. “Go ahead and steal my heart.” Yep, my heart is gone into a past filled with today. I’m loving everything here and praying it never ends. I’m rejoicing loudly and smiling a silly grin thicker than every thought I’ve ever been capable off. When it does finally end, I’m okay, because the shoutouts are Crazy For You and a cool cover of Make You Feel My Love. The moons of Saturn are singing with me “getting into my favorite mood.” Thanks, Adele! Adele