No work means listening to Records all day!!

As some of you know, I am currently a step above unemployed. I sent a bevy of resumes to local coffee shops and the likes today, hopefully I'll be able to afford to go out again. The good thing about having all this time, and no money to spend on anything, is that I get to listen to records all day. I've been scouring my collection focusing on albums I haven't spent a lot of time with. So here are the highlights with small reviews for each!

Bob Dylan: Slow Train Coming
Dylan's first of a trilogy of evangelical albums, is a lot better than I had given it credit for. Most of the props goes to his band, especially lead guitarist Mark Knopfler. What could have been one of Dylan's worst albums (preachy in a way that only born-again's can find interesting) is lifted to greater heights by a top notch band, and some good song-writing (lyrics aside).

Ornette Coleman: Tomorrow is the Question
I love Ornette, and have been a fan for many years. His music was such an obvious progression from Be-bop and hard bob it's amazing he was considered so controversial. But what we've got here is exciting "Free Jazz" with all the edges sharpened. I also have an original UK mono copy of the vinyl which is pure heaven.

Chet Atkins and his Guitar
Pure instrumental country bliss. Chet (like Les Paul) was a guitarist ahead of his time, playing some beautiful licks on this all instrumental album. Anything by Mr. Atkins is worth a listen. The highlight is the solo "Walking on Strings". Gorgeous.

Bob Dylan: Infidels
Dylan's first secular album after his trilogy of born-again albums, finds him more pesimistic than ever. This is a pretty polished album with the help of guitarist (and now producer) Mark Knopfler. Featuring the inspired rhythm secion of Sly and Robbie, holding down grooves while Dylan sings "Well, he can be fascinating, he can be dull, He can ride down Niagara Falls in the barrels of your skull", and many other equally delightful statements.

Bob Dylan: Dylan
1973 saw the (brief) end of the relationship between Dylan and Columbia records. As a retaliation to Bob's jumping ship to Asylum Records, Columbia released the album "Dylan". In a rather childish move, Columbia gathered 9 outtakes from the Self Portrait and New Morning recording sessions and released them in the poorest quality for as Dylan. This album is not completely without merit, album ender "Spanish Is the Loving Tongue", finds Dylan in very rare form embracing the Spanish nature of the song.

Gary Wright: The Dreamweaver
Ok, why do I have this record? It used to belong to one of my parents. I don't even want to know which one. There is really nothing to recomend about this album. The band is tight, but considering most of it is overdubbed Synthesizers, that doesn't mean as much. The good thing that came out of my Gary Wright session is that I got to see the mans website. Wow, you have to check it out. The main page features a mirror and a frog looking up at it... for some reason... and check out all the glitter that follows your cursor!! Nice.

Plastic Ono Band: Live Peace in Toronto 1969
This is a live recording of one of John Lennon's first solo shows, featuring Yoko Ono and guitarist Eric Clapton. The first side of the album is great, it has the raw energy of a band that hasn't rehearsed much, but love playing with each other. Classic rock and roll tunes, a couple Beatles tracks, and two Lennon original make up side one, in all it's sloppy glory. Side 2 is another story all together. Ono takes center stage to caterwal over a couple boring riffs, the only excitement coming at the end when the band walks off stage leaving their guitars feeding back.

Emerson Lake and Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery
Prog rock is an often picked on genre. While there is no argument that it's bread and butter is pretention, I personally love the audacity of it. Karn Evil 3 is a 30 minute plus, 3 movement mastabatory opus. The great thing about BSS is the album cover. Designed by artist H. R. Giger The cover splits in the middle revealing a human face. Partly why Vinyl is taking over CD's is that album covers can be pieces of art unto themselves.

Well, that's just a quick selection. Other albums listened to this week include, Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Dire Straits self-titled debut, Supertramp: Even in the Quietest Moments, John McLaughlin: Guitar Player, David Bowie: Scary Monsters, and Ennio Morricone: Once Upon a Time in the West.

What have you been listening to?


Alexis Marsh said...

Alright. The way you're spending your time leaves me completely envious. For what it's worth, I think the government should fund the likes of you to write posts like this all the time. But you're wrong about Ono. She's great: original, daring, intriguing (admit it). So give the Yoko-hate a break already. And caterwal is spelt with a u.

Joel Emberson said...

I've recently listened to the Man Machine by Kraftwerk on vinyl, and it is quite solid. The synths are decidedly lame by today's standards, however it has a place in history and in my heart.

I think you should start a podcast... :-)