Cut, as they are, from much the same cloth, how you rate Bryan Ferry‘s second post-Roxy Music solo album depends very much on your opinion about Avalon, Roxy’s last studio Lp, and Boys and Girls, the singer’s previous solo record. If you regard a combination of atmosphere, groove and languidity as the height of sophistication, then Bête Noire is, indeed, a good bet. If, however, you believe Ferry’s modus operadi smacks of sterility and melody dearthness, then you’ll want to search elsewhere for your kicks. Though its silken allure begins to wane by the second song on side two, I still like it.
Not a record of innovation, rather, consolidation and refinement. By 1976, these kinds of classic rock moves had been perfected (by Springsteen, Segar, et. al) and there was enough history for self-conscious, artful capitulation (American Graffiti, Quadrophenia, etc., etc.). So, having paid their dues, GP and his band made an album to stir the hearts of cynics who still believed in rock & roll as some sort of living, breathing salvation.
For some reason, it makes me think of Cleveland, Ohio.
Everything is in its place: Hammond filigrees dance, guitar fills sting, stop-time drums and horns punctuate with defiance and an everyman lead singer snarls and rails. Everything, indeed, that would grow stale and tired over the next few years in the hands of lesser songwriters, as well as Parker himself. Handling itself with an assurance borne of years on the road, the Rumour surpass the energy and focus of former employers, notably Brisley Shwartz. Only the Nick Lowe-produced “Back Door Love” succumbs to oldies pandering.A £1 treat yesterday from Ashford bootfair for someone who’s habitually dismissed Parker after not falling for the charms of his supposed masterpiece Squeezing Out Sparks.
By sheer, absolute and unlikely coincidence (see previous post), I found this clear red vinyl 12″ single-sided promo ep of what is effectively the third side of the Further Adventures of Lord Quas double Lp today at the Save the Children chazzo in the Canterbury High Street. Folks are hawking it for a lot more over on Discogs, but 50p to you, sir.
Good things do sometimes happen to good people.
(Columbus, Ohio) — Columbus painter/decorator Cory Nara, 48, doesn’t just paint your rooms or paper your walls, he “provide[s] a stimulating, challenging aural environment with the seriously high quality music that plays while I work.”
Unlike most local workmen, Nara isn’t content to play CD101, WLVQ-FM96, or “any of that ‘done-to-death’ oldies crap” usually associated with the building trade. So along with his brushes, paints and tools, he brings his iPod (“Everything from AC/DC to Jay-Z,” he laughs.) and state-of-art BeoPlay A8 docking station by Bang & Olufsen.
“If I arrive for work around 8am, I’m usually good to go by 9:30-10, depending on how long it takes to program a playlist and find the optimum ‘soundspace’ for my set up.” The latter is more difficult than it might first appear since as often as not the rooms in which Nara works are empty. “Unless I install some noise absorbing panelling on the walls,” he explained, “you get a horrible echo that totally swamps any EQ-ing I’ve done, and actually makes it sound too loud.” If Nara is doing outside work, he brings stand mounted JBL speakers and a bass bin hooked up to 400 watt SPL power amp.
Deciding the right music takes plenty of time, too. “I have to think about not only my mood, but the client for whom I’m working, the time of day, what I’ve already listened to that week…God, so many variables to consider,” said handyman Nara.
The self-employed father of two was more than happy to open up today’s playlist: songs from Heart of the Congos by the Congos; Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s Mecca and the Soul Brother; Satan Is Real by the Louvin Brothers; Brown Sugar by D’Angelo; King of the Delta Blues – Robert Johnson; Step In the Arena by Gang Starr; Warren Zevon’s self titled debut; Double Nickles On the Dime by the Minutemen; Ming Dynasty – Charles Mingus; Quasimoto’s Yessir Whatever; Michael Head – The Magical World of the Stands; Back Country Suite by Mose Allison and a compilation of House Music from 1988 to the present compiled by his son were just some of the choices set up to play while he edged a Bexley house’s living room.
Nara derides workers who just play popular radio calling it “junk food for the ears.”
“Especially when you consider what’s available, not just on CD, but through streaming, downloading and so on, not to mention the amazing compilations of brilliant, obscure releases that are so easily accessible, there’s just no excuse these days to listen to music of anything less than the highest quality. ”
“That ‘McMusic’s’ not good for you,” he claimed. “Some people might say that it’s like dressing up in an Armani suite to go to the post office, but I say that people should have more respect for themselves.”
(New York City) — David Bowie has announced the re-release of his latest album, The Next Day, in five new and exciting flavours. The veteran rocker’s critically acclaimed and Mercury-nominated comeback Lp will be available in Real Cool Ranch, Chicken Spice Oddity, Bowiebeque Rib, Thai Sweet Thing Chilli and Fame Broiled Steak flavours. The new, limited edition The Next Days may be purchased individually or together in a box. The original recipe, or The Next Day Classic as it is to be called, will be sold separately.
(Columbus, Ohio) — One resident said he couldn’t believe such things were still happening in 2013. Another reported that she was uncomfortable living in an area where it went on and, though it meant the loss of perhaps tens of thousands of dollars, would be selling her house. Yet another called it, “simply the most blatant display of overt racism [she’s] seen in [her] forty years as a citizen of Clintonville.”
To find what has so shocked community members you must visit For The Records, a used vinyl store in Clintonville a block south of North Broadway. But be warned, to cross the threshold is to step back to a time of Jim Crow laws, lynchings and separate “white” and “colored” drinking fountains.
“It’s disgusting,” snorted one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. “If Daryl Hall or Michael McDonald were African-American, they’d be in the Soul and R&B section; however, just because of the color of their skin, H2O and “Sweet Freedom” records are ghettoized in the Pop section.”
“Where would you put Charlie Pride?” asked another resident rhetorically. “C&W right? No, apparently not. Because he’s black, he goes in with the blues records along with Robert Cray; but not Joe Bonamassa or Stevie Ray Vaughn though, they’re filed with the Rock Lps.”
Some Clintonvillians have called for a boycott. “It beggars belief,” local councilor Shane Frosh told Thrifty Vinyl, “that in 2013 you can’t put Ned Doheny’s Prone in with the other R&B music.”
“And the fact that the store carries no Lps at all by interracial bands like Booker T and the MGs, Sly & the Family Stone or War and only those Bruce Springsteen records without Clarence Clemons is a national disgrace.”
But owner Larry Parnes denies any malicious intent: “I ain’t no racist,” he claimed, pausing to hawk a brown stream of intermingled sputum and tobacco into a brass spittoon in the corner of the store. “I jest don’ think the Good Lord wants records by different colors to mix.”
Adding, “Would you let your daughter file her Plan B and Eminem vinyl in with Hip Hop?”
No psychedelic sun can disguise how hopelessly out-of-fashion this must have seemed back in 1967. But produced by Don Law, the same man responsible for recording Robert Johnson, Songs of Faith is a numinous bluegrass-style close harmony gospel Lp (a mono edition on Columbia Records budget subsidiary, Harmony) that transcends its age; happened apon at a Sue Ryder Woonsorg bookshop for €2 during an Asbo Family getaway in Brugge, Belgium while on half term*.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the town’s elegance, I also found what must be the world’s most handsome record shop in the heart of the old city. Specialising in Classical and Jazz (I picked up the Bill Evans Trio’s vivacious Sunday At the Village Vanguard), Rombaux held a pop-rock section of inverse proportions to what one usually sees at a music store. Even Mrs Asbo was impressed, commenting that she wouldn’t mind accompanying me record shopping if they all looked like that.
Interestingly, the three Brugge record shops I went into were all run by women, don’t know if this is a thing or just coincidence.
*Our first attempt to leave the country last Sunday night was halted by St. Jude.