David Bowie – Lodger (RCA BOW LP 1) (1979)

Another Lp from the summer’s roving in Cornwall, this one from the same bootfair as the recently discussed Earth, Wind & Fire. Despite the presence of the hits “D.J.” and “Boys Keep Swinging”, I’ve always considered Lodger the runt of Bowie’s Eno/Berlin trilogy litter, like a series of outtakes from the records immediately previous and subsequent. Indeed, when I was quite busy buying the Ryko Bowie re-issues back in the early 90s, I didn’t even bother with it (or Pin Ups–which I also got on vinyl recently–or Man Who Sold the World).

So, time for a reassessment.

In short, it may be better than I remember, but it still sounds kind of half-assed, a (with hindsight) obvious stepping stone from Low/“Heroes”‘s atmospherics to the more earthy Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). As an experiment, it fails as often as it succeeds: “African Night Flight”‘s tumble of words sounds annoying and pretentious, while the Neu!-plundering “Red Sails” neatly updates a motorik drone with eastern European folk touches.

Still, it’s all recognisably late 70s Bowie music, in a mint sleeve, for 2 pounds. It can’t be bad, can it?

Published in: on September 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm  Comments (2)  

Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)

And in other CSN news….

NORMAL CROSBY

Walrus tusked David Crosby spent the weekend baby-sitting his grandchildren Ben, 9 and Melissa, 11, regaling them with tales of the various ways he’s let his freak flag fly. These include sex with multiple partners simultaneously, growing his hair quite long and bushy, onstage paranoid rants about the Warren Commission report into the Kennedy assassination and keeping a handgun spring-loaded in the glove compartment of his car while driving high on PCP.

STILLS SMARTING

Bitter at his self-betrayal, Stephen Stills is suing himself on grounds of negligence for allowing himself to take second billing in Crosby, Stills and Nash. “Ahmet [Ertegun] told me we needed a two-syllable name upfront and, like a fool, I believed him.” Experts estimate the cost of damage to Stills’ ego at around a hundred thousand million billion dollars.

NASH RAMBLING

Graham Nash is selling his Hawaiian property. He identified its main selling points: “It’s got two cats in the yard, flowers in a vase and windows illuminated by fiery gems of sunshine.”

“Basically, it’s a fine house,” the estwhile Hollie trilled, adding, “A very, very, very fine fucking house.”

No prizes for guessing which of CSN eventually went bald.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 8:04 am  Comments (3)  

Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints (1990)

PAUL SIMON RHYTHM Lp NOT AS GOOD AS NEW DON DOKKEN SOLO ALBUM, REPORTS COLUMBUS DOKKEN FAN

Speaking out at Shari Newman’s Hallowe’en party on Chittenden Avenue in Columbus’s Ohio State University district this weekend, Dokken fan Alan Rich dismissed Paul Simon’s new Rhythm of the Saints album as “not a patch on [just released Don Dokken solo Lp] Up From the Ashes. It may not even be as good as [current Ratt release] Detonator.”

Dressed for the party as the Unabomber in a simple grey hooded sweatshirt, fake mustache, curly wig and sunglasses, Rich called himself an “eclectic” music fan with an “real open mind” though readily admits to being an “absolute, A-number 1 Dokken fan.”

“Basically, I dig everything from classics like Zep, Sabs and Purp to modern stuff like G’n’R and Bon Jovi. So it’s not like I’m not willing to try new things. But this record, with its smooth, complex ‘jungle’ rhythms and literate, cosmopolitan lyrics lacks the basic Les Paul and Marshall stack guitar sound and 4/4 beat that makes great music. I don’t hear one chorus that says ‘party anthem’ like ‘Stay’ or ‘Mirror, Mirror.’ And the ‘The Obvious Child?’ Seriously, what’s that even about?”

“It ain’t obvious to me,” he added with a chuckle.

Pointing out the loud volume at which Rhythm was being played, Rich noted that “It doesn’t even sound good cranked up,” calling that a “sure sign” of the record’s deficiency.

But pre-med student Newman, who received the record in September as a birthday present from long-time boyfriend Kevin Nelson, said she likes music from other cultures, citing David Byrne’s Rei Momo, a Ladysmith Black Mambazo compilation and Simon’s earlier Graceland as evidence of her “world music” credentials. Costumed as Vampira, with black eyeliner and a figure hugging black dress with plunging neck line, Newman enthused about “how he [Simon] continues to use the same conversational style and tone of singing…which works so well set against the vaguely African and Brazilian polyrhythms. The record is more groove oriented and less poppy than Graceland–I think I like it better, but that may be because I’m so sick of Graceland.”

She quickly rejected Rich’s critique, saying, “Oh [Alan] just doesn’t get it if it isn’t heavy metal crap.”

“Anyway,” she said, “he hates Paul Simon because everyone always used to sing ‘You Can Call Me Al’ every time he walked into home room at CAHS [Columbus Alternative High School].”

Published in: on September 22, 2011 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Paul McCartney – Give My Regards to Broad Street (EMI EL 26 0278 1) (1984)

SIR PAUL WINS 7-YEAR CAMPAINGN TO RELINQUISH RESPONSIBILITY FOR BROAD STREET Lp

Ageing 1960s rockers have been handed a major moral victory as the European Parliament is set to curtail the artists’ statutory responsibility for recordings they made in the 1980s. Among the very worst music of their careers, albums such as Dirty Work by the Rolling Stones, It’s Hard by the Who, David Bowies’s Never Let Me Down and Give My Regards To Broad Street by Sir Paul McCartney can currently be blamed on their creators for 50 years. New legislation restricts bad reviews to just 30 years meaning that critical maulings of these albums will cease sometime during the next decade. Proposals to completely expunge the albums from critical records and people’s record collections were dismissed as impractical, though a “Guns For Sh*tty Albums” bill has passed initial stages of a New York state assembly lawmaking process.

“Obviously I’m thrilled, you know,” said McCartney at a press conference yesterday. “I mean, what was I thinking redoing those Beatles songs [on Broad Street]? They were never going to have the swing and feel of the originals, were they? And, Jesus, wasn’t the ‘intolerable interference’ I sued the Beatles over because of Phil Spector’s OTT treatment of ‘Long and Winding Road’; then here I go and do the same f*cking thing! And please let’s never mind the movie itself. The words ‘vanity’ and ‘project’ spring readily to mind. Wow.”

“And what about those ridiculous white suits, ugh! I really should have laid off the herbs around ’82,” he added, shaking his head.

Clifford Snoats, rock critic, writing in the Columbus Grauniad, said, “While the four or so new songs on Broad Street are fair to middling, the feeble pun of the title, which is more suited to the Leisure section of the West Briton Post, and terrible cover are enough to dismiss the album outright. As an exercise in pointlessness, it really does take some beating. Only the hardest of hardcore Macca-philes would rate it.”

But others were more forgiving. “It’s not that bad,” argued Kent Beatles fan Eric Weiss, who bought the album at a bootfair while on vacation in Cornwall, UK. “I certainly would want to retain the right to, say, buy the album from a charity shop for a couple pounds.”

“I’ve got a cool book about the movie, too,” said the slightly sad Weiss, “that I’d picked up at another bootfair just a few months before.”

However, Weiss is under no illusions about the intrinsic worth of the album and was quick to pour scorn on Folkestone’s British Heart Foundation for charging £19 for their copy.

“Okay, maybe I’m a glutton, but what kind of stupid eejit is going to pay that?”

Eric Weiss’ “cool” book displayed on the Broad Street inner gatefold



Published in: on September 16, 2011 at 11:47 am  Comments (4)  

Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool (Radar RAD1) (1978)

Right, let’s quantify this thing: Of the eleven tracks on Jesus of Cool, I already own seven on the comps 16 All-Time Lowes and Nick’s Knacks; another (“Shake & Pop”) is a reworking of the single “They Called It Rock”, also on Lowes; and while the “Heart of the City” included here is the breakneck live Rockpile version, not the studio take found on the aforementioned Lowes, I have the very same recording with Dave Edmunds lead vox wiping the composer’s on Tracks On Wax; leaving the Kiss-like “Music For Money” and the gorgeous beat pop ballad “Tonight” the only all-new songs. Giving half credit to “Shake” and a quarter credit to “Rock”, at £2.99 that works out to £1.08 per each new/partially new song. Still worth it, I reckon, for those songs, the title itself and my own completist fetishism.

And there’s this typically amusing inner sleeve, which looks like the late Barney Bubbles’ doing.

Published in: on September 16, 2011 at 8:15 am  Comments (2)  

The Freeman String Symphoniser featuring Ken Freeman – Electronic Philharmonic (1973) (Ad-Rhythm ARPS-8004)

I swore to myself that, if this Ken Freeman was shite, it would be the last silly sythesiser record I would buy. Well, it is shite: pop songs and a few hokey originals with a live rhythm section and the melodic swoosh of the titular “string symphoniser“, not very spacey or interesting.

However, it’s worth something relatively substantial, at least according to Vinyl Searcher, so perhaps I’ll sell it on and buy just one more silly synthesiser Lp. It was only £1 at Age UK in Hythe, after all.

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 11:06 am  Comments (2)