Thursday 29 April 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 58 (Top Five): Random Recent Purchases

We couldn’t think up much else to write about this week so here, in no particular order, are five AAA-linked purchases I’ve made in the past month or so – and whether they were a good idea or not!:

1)    Johnny Cash “Come Along With Me And Ride This Train” (1991 Compilation of material recorded 1960-77) The man in black told me to ride and I thought I’d better not disobey – and I’m very glad I did. This ‘Bear’ set from 1991 combines no less than seven Cash concept albums (the first, ‘Ride This Train’ from 1960, is a strong candidate for the first ever concept album in ‘rock’ circles – and no, the Sinatra albums don’t count), one of them a double album, and taken en masse they reveal a lot about Johnny’s character and contradictions, even more than they do about the history of America. I’ve owned the ‘Bitter Tears’ album for a while now and I still consider its damning anti-colonial tales lampooning everything the ‘white man’ did to take America from under the nose of the native American Indians is one of the bravest records ever released by a mainstream artist (‘General Custer ain’t riding too well’ gloats Cash at one point, as the famous general’s last stand is turned from heroic failure into a gloating triumph for the Indians trying to protect their home land, something I never thought I’d hear a ‘white’ man sing). The other records aren’t quite up to that standard, although I’m already getting quite fond of ‘Hammer And Nails’ (the second album in the set, telling tales of mostly poverty-struck American workers throughout history; check out Johnny Cash reliving his own childhood picking cotton and the classic tale of poverty ‘Busted’, best known from the ‘Folsom Prison’ album) and the much maligned last album ‘The Rambler’ (the dialogue is excruciating – and, fittingly, rambling; just check out this line about dropping off a passing hitch-hicker who, in true country fashion, just killed her nasty husband: ‘I knew a girl like that once called Calilou, but she wouldn’t have killed a man with a gun – she’d have done it with love in her heart instead. I wonder where she is now...’) but the music’s pretty fabulous all the way through. What’s puzzling about this set is how much Johnny Cash changed his stance from the early 60s to the late 60s/70s – he’s turned a full 180 degrees from protest singer, championing the underdogs that nobody else listens to never mind understands to becoming a champion of the American Dream and Americans in general. And I’m even more puzzled that neither side of him seemed to cause that much controversy in the day – just look at the criticism David Crosby got for recording ‘My Country Tis Of Thee’ (which sadly is about the only famous American anthem Johnny doesn’t do on this set; its a great tune however patronising the words are – and don’t get me started on how bad ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ are, especially the second mainly unheard verse about having the right to seize everyone else’s ships because we’re British). But this set is worth it for the Indian album alone – magic stuff, even if you do get sick of all the talking and that same darn engine whistle sound effect when you play it lots.  

2)    Ringo Starr “Y Not?” (2010) I bought this as a present, honest. I don’t go around buying modern Ringo CDs usually (though I did for a while in the 90s when they were actually quite good) but I thought I’d give this vaguely controversial album (yep, Ringo’s being all moody about his home town of Liverpool. Again) a listen. Like many  a Ringo album there’s only two tracks worth hearing – ‘Walk With You’, a duet with Paul Mccartney which marks the first time the Beatles have worked together since 1997’s ‘Flaming Pie’ and, surprisingly, ‘The Other Side Of Liverpool’, the track that’s causing all the fuss. Much as I hate hearing celebrities banging on about how horrible their early life was (Liverpool’s been a lot kinder to Ringo than he has to Liverpool after all), this one at least has some clever lines (‘Liverpool is cold and damp – only way out, drums, guitar and amp’ is the best Ringo lyric since ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, even if it’s terribly unfair. Liverpool was a port, Ringo. It’s the best place for any American record-loving teenager of the 1940s to be born. And trust me, even the roughest end of Liverpool wasn’t that much worse than other Northern towns). But hearing some caterwaulingly awful modern singer taking over the last track (I never did find out who it was and I’m afraid of finding out) and the desperate attempts to be modern make you despair. Ringo’s really been missing George’s guest appearances on his last three solo albums – what the hell happened to the man who gave us the fairly promising ‘Time Takes Time’ (1992) and ‘Vertical Man’ (1995)? And where the hell is the re-issue of Ringo’s second best (after 1974’s ‘Ringo’) album ‘Stop and Smell The Roses’ with AAA favourites Stephen Stills and Van Dyke Parks (lyricist on ‘Smile’) taking part?  ‘Y?’ might be a better question.

3)    Pink Floyd “Animals” (1977). I had to laugh at the Conservatives’ recent choice of Battersea Power Station to launch their election manifesto. Battersea can only mean two things to me: the use of it in a Dr Who episode as a base for the Cybermen to brainwash mankind and take over the world out of greed and envy. And a certain Pink Floyd cover with an inflatable porky which says ‘pigs might fly’. What a mess. Oh and I did genuinely buy this album by the way, its not just an excuse to get that rant in – and yes I did own it already (on vinyl), it’s just that – finally – due to EMI’s money problems the Pink Floyd catalogue are finally appearing on the shelves at a cheaper rate than the £16.99 we always used to have to pay. Suffice to say, ‘Animals’ isn’t the best Floyd album ever made – its a weird mix of prog rock and punk – but it was either the first or second Floyd record I ever bought and I’ve always been quite fond of it. ‘Pigs On The Wing’ is gorgeous (even if it sounds far better on 8-track cartridge, where a linking guitar piece by Snowy White melds both parts together – check out for it on youtube), ‘Pigs’ itself is either a hilarious rant at Margaret Thatcher and Mary Whitehouse or the most self-indulgent thing the band ever did depending on your mood, Dogs is an admirable attempt at an epic that might have sounded better without the long and pointless middle section and ‘Sheep’ is a minor classic, with Roger Waters’ voice segueing into a distorted synth riff and a killer guitar part from David Gilmour. 

4)    Paul McCartney “Back In The US” (2003 DVD). Aren’t charity shops wonderful? Just when I’d given up hope of owning this Macca concert DVD (the American leg of the tour I saw him on and he was on good form that year – I swear he sounded 20 years younger than when I saw him in 1990), there it is in British Heart Foundation for £3. I could – and have and probably will – quibble with the track listing (too many obvious Beatles, not enough Wings and a really mixed bunch from the then-current and not-bad-at-all album ‘Driving Rain’) but the performances by Macca’s band are more or less spot-on all the way through. Best of all, the adrenalin levels are so high – this is Macca actually working to get our love and respect, instead of coasting and expecting it like he often does. The extras aren’t many and the behind-the-scenes tour-bus stuff adds absolutely nothing to the experience (apart from gaping at the size of the touring personnel), but the three soundcheck performances – old pre-Macca music standards, all of them – may well be the best thing here. They’re certainly way more entertaining than Macca’s covers albums ‘Choba B CCCP’ and ‘Run Devil Run’ and the soundcheck dross that filled up part of ‘Tripping The Live Fantastic’. 

5)    Frank Allen “Travelling Man – On The Road With The Searchers” (1993). I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. You see, there isn’t much music in this autobiog – it really is just a travelogue with the odd performing-in-front-of-soldiers or getting-guitars-on-the-plane anecdotes added in for good measure. I normally hate travelogues outright – boring people having experiences that you could be having yourself for the money you’ve just forked out for an original hardback copy and having to rely on other people’s eyes and ears for re-actions and prejudices that you don’t share. But Frank Allen is such a good witty writer with such strong character observations that I enjoyed this book far more because of it (regular readers will know firsthand how much I love puns and wordplay – and I apologise now for every time you’ve groaned out loud reading this site, especially Lizzie!) I just wish there had been more music involved – and more about the 60s at that because I’d be fascinated to know the story behind The Searchers’ recordings circa 1965-67 and no one else from The Searchers camp has really talked about their time with the band (well, Chris Curtis did a bit before he sadly died so young but most of his interviews are on the loony side of eccentric it has to be said). Still, I got my copy in a charity shop for £2.99 and I can’t complain at that (although the £20 price tag I’ve seen on some shopping sites seems a bit steep) – it’s worth the price alone just for the generous amount of photographs!

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

What difference does a name make? Arguably not much if you’re already a collector of a certain group, for whom the names on the album sleeves just...

This week’s top ten honours the humble motor car. The death trap on wheels, the metaphor for freedom, the put-down of capitalism, a source of...

This week we’re going to have a look at the 10 AAA singles that spent the most weeks at number on the American chart ‘Billboard’ – and it makes for...

Following on from last issue’s study of the American Billboard charts, here’s a look at which AAA albums spent the most weeks on the chart. The...

There are many dying arts in our modern world: incorruptible politicians, faith that things are going to get better and the ability to make decent...

This week we’ve decided to dedicate our top ten to those unsung heroes of music, the session musicians, whose playing often brings AAA artists (and...

Naturally we hold our AAA bands in high esteem in these articles: after all, without their good taste, intelligence and humanity we’d have nothing to...

What do you do when you’ve left a multi-million selling band and yet you still feel the pull of the road and the tours and the playing to audiences...

‘The ATOS Song’ (You’re Not Fit To Live)’ (Mini-Review) Dear readers, we don’t often feature reviews of singles over albums or musicians who aren’t...

In honour of this week’s review of an album released to cash in on a movie soundtrack (only one of these songs actually appears in ‘Easy Rider’...and...

Hic! Everyone raise a glass to the rock stars of the past and to this week’s feature...songs about alcolholic beverages! Yes that’s right, everything...

154) The human singing voice carries with it a vast array of emotions, thoughts that cannot be expressed in any other way except opening the lungs and...

Everyone has a spiritual home, even if they don’t actually live there. Mine is in a windy, rainy city where the weather is always awful but the...

Having a family does funny things to some musicians, as we’ve already seen in this week’s review (surely the only AAA album actually written around...

Some artists just have no idea what their best work really is. One thing that amazes me as a collector is how consistently excellent many of the...

159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

No comments:

Post a Comment