Monday, 6 October 2008
♫ New releases this week: a very weird Jefferson Thingy album (ie another curious Airplane/ Starship hybrid), with Paul Kantner hosting a CD on which various friends and associates record cover versions of songs that inspired the making of ‘his’ band (there’s something odd there—Marty Balin, the real founder of Jefferson Airplane and its early driving force, features here simply as a ‘guest’, just as he has on all recent Kantner-founded Jefferson CDs. Actually Marty hired Paul not the other way around!) I’m also deeply confused as to why David LeFlamme, founder and mainstay of unfairly neglected San Francisco band ‘It’s A Beautiful Day’ appears on this album—as far as I know his group had nothing in common with the Airplane except the time period and playing the odd show at the same venues! Some good news however—after getting her out of retirement to write some hilarious sleeve-notes for the last few Jefferson-related releases, Kantner has finally got Grace Slick back into the studio for the first time since the Airplane reunion of 1989, albeit you won’t know that from the sleeve as Grace only sings on a ’hidden’ song unlisted on the packaging.
♫ One other new release this week: the first-time-on-CD release by the forgotten second line-up of
Lindisfarne, ‘Happy Daze’ (first released
in 1974). For those of you who’ve read my review of ’It’s Jack The Lad’ on the
site already (review number 61), this is what the other two founder members of
Lindisfarne were up to during the mid-70s. After the band’s big split in 1972,
Alan Hull and Ray Jackson carried on with the old band name for two poorly
received albums, ’Roll On Ruby’ (1973, released on CD in 2005) - a quite dull
and uninspiring album, sadly rather deserving of its unloved status among most
fans—and this little gem, which sold terribly badly but really show this second
line-up of Lindisfarne beginning to click together (the poor sales meant there
never was a third album by this line-up, despite reaching as far as the writing
and rehearsal stage—anooyingly, most of the people who worked on that project
say it was the best out the three). Jacaka’s lead vocals on this album are some
of his best, veering from blues to pop with ease, while new members Thomas
Duffy (gravel-throated bassist) and Kenny Craddock (falsetto and keyboards) all
but steal the show. Alan Hull is, unusually, relegated to novelty songs about
drinking too heavily. Best of all, though, is the presence of a very early
acoustic Alan Hull song, ’River’, which was inventively recorded in the open
air when the band got bored of the studio and features a prime Hully vocal
tinged with bird-song. How this understated lovely composition, the twin sister
to Hully’s popular ’Winter Song’, got left off the first three Lindisfarne
records I have no idea! Worth buying the CD for alone, now that its out at
♫ New Oasis album ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ is also out this week, but it needs to becomne a bit cheaper before I can afford to buy it! The latest batch of national reviews/previews for it have taken me quite by surprise, being as negative about the album and the band as they used to be back in the bad old days of ’Be Here Now’ (nice ideas dragged out for much longer than they needed to be) and ’Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants (a patchy but generally under-rated little gem).I’ve read about six times now what a bizarre thing it is for the band to be aping psychedelia in this day and age —not so, I say! (most of my favourite Oasis tracks are cod-psychedelia, from ’Champagne Supernove’ to ’Who Feels Love?’, so perhaps its monkeynbuts AAA fans rather than mainstream critics who are going to like this album?! Hope so!)
♫ Anniversaries This Week: Kevin Godley (10cc, 1972-75) turns 63 on October 7th, while October 9th would have seen both the 68th birthday of John Lennon and the 64th birthday of John Entwistle. Events this week: The Beatles reject a record $1 million offer to return to touring after the owners of Shea Stadium collect the record amount(1967; October 7); 15 years later, The Who kick off their 1982 ’farewell tour’ at that very stadium (they reformed in 2000; so strictly speaking it’s a first ’farewell tour’ in the Frank Sinatra sense of the word; October 12) and John Lennon (nearly) celebrates his 35th birthday by finally getting his ’green card’ , a decision which allows him to become a US citizen despite the drugs record that nearly had him deported from the US several times during the 70s (October 7).
♫ Not much news on the AAA front, except to say that our computer is poorly with a virus which has rather scuppered our plans this week (somebody must have been playing the spice girls on it!) In honour of our fallen comrade, here is this week’s top five: songs about viruses of all kinds (and yes I know allergies aren’t viruses but I’m getting desperate, OK?!)
5) A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues (The Beatles, Live At the BBC, 1994): Probably not the sort of medicine your doctor would recommend, but this infectious boogie-woogie Beatle cover will cure most ails. Except our computer’s that is. Darn. Incidentally, does anyone else think the Beatles’ Arthur Alexander covers are the best in their non-original canon? Why then did only ‘Anna’ make it to a ‘proper’ record our of all the Alexander gems the Beats recorded?!
4) Computer Cowboy (aka Syscrusher) (Neil Young/ Trans, 1982: see review no 84): This tale of a 1980s computer programmer infiltrating a flock of on-line virtual sheep was way ahead of its time and still sounds mighty, umm, strange and futuristic today. The only song I can find even vaguely connected to the computer virus theme, this song shows what a might technophile Neil was (and is), given that just about every other group on this list hadn’t got a clue what a computer was in the early 80s. It’s also the only song where you can hear electronically treated cowboys singing the magical chorus line ’come-a-ky-yi-yippie-yi-ay’!
3) “Hayfever” (The Kinks/ Misfits, 1978): The song that came close to breaking the band up (not for the first time), Ray Davies fought like the plague to get this infectious song exactly the way he wanted. He never quite succeeded either, if damning reviews of this novelty record are anything to go by— in a typically quirky 70s Kinks track, allergy to pollen affects narrators love-life and loses him his girlfriend that he’s been spending weeks trying to seduce. Now that’s something to sneeze over.
2) “Allergies” (Paul Simon/ Hearts and Bones, 1983; see review no 85): ‘I’m allergic to the women that I love and its changing the shape of my face!” Half-playful, half-paranoid Paul Simon pop-rocker, as catchy as a cold, as energetic as a bottle of lucozade and ultimately a bit of a mess every bit as sticky as a half-sucked lozenge.
1) “You’ve Got A Cold” (10cc/Deceptive Bends, 1976): One of the heaviest, almost feverish rockers that 10cc ever put together, this is the ultimate ode to how, when your systems dying, ’the bugs are having a ball’. For anyone with a cold this rocking tonic is better than a lemsip, with a stomping 4/4 beat and cymbal crashes every other line. Aachoo!