Buzz's Blog

Friday, 27 February 2015

Jump In Let’s Go


Hey, go have a listen to Sheryl Crow’s Every Day Is A Winding Road.

A vintage Stones groove, dripping in Beatles psychedelia.  Clever lyrics.  Catchy melody.  A pop tune can’t get much better than that.

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Friday, 20 February 2015

All Shook Up


The hips, the hair, the snarly smile … oh, and the voice, the energy and the music.  Elvis was, in the beginning anyway, a monumental force, arguably the biggest weapon of mass seduction ever to explode onto the music scene.

So it wasn’t surprising that Rolling Stone conducted a Readers Poll on the 10 Best Elvis Presley Songs around about the time of (what would have been were it not for all that pie) his 80th birthday.

Not surprised to see Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, and Jailhouse Rock on the list, and I’ve always loved Suspicious Minds.  Maybe I’d feel differently if I’d seen him live, but it’s disappointing to see An American Trilogy on the list.  It just seems to exemplify the sad caricature he devolved into.

And I know it’s a readers poll, so we don’t get a panel of experts assessing his impact and legacy, but it’s still kinda strange not to see the likes of Hound Dog, Don’t Be Cruel and All Shook Up on the list.  It was those early, bluesy rockers that set Elvis apart.

But what do I know?  I’m just a Canadian kid who discovered music in the 60’s, when it was, sadly, all over but for the black velvet paintings.

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Friday, 13 February 2015

Move It To The Left


A lot of folks think The Rolling Stones became silly and pathetically commercial in the 80’s when they did stuff like, oh, say The Harlem Shuffle.

To which I say: The Stones were an R&B band.  Remember?

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Groundbreakers


Hey, Rolling Stone!  What’s with these lists delivered as advertisements?

You need to work at Rolling Stone’s 40 Most Groundbreaking Albums of All Time to get to the detail, but it’s more or less worth it.  Probably.

Well, Kanye West should pleased to be included on a list featuring Woody Guthrie and Frank Sinatra.

And Perrey and Kingsley – whoever they were - should be mighty proud to be on a list that includes Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and Dave Brubeck.

Are we surprised to see pioneers like Nirvana, The Ramones, The Allman Brothers, Paul Butterfield or James Brown on such a list?  Of course not.  Or masters such as Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye or Carole King?  Nope.

Nor, though I’ll never understand it, can we be surprised to see The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, The Velvet Underground’s Nico, The Mothers of Invention, or Sabbath.

This couldn’t have been an easy list to assemble.  It covers every major music genre over seven decades.  And I know I’m just a rabid fan, which in no way qualifies me as an expert, but I do wonder why there are so many entries on the list that I have never heard of.  I mean, I have been paying attention and all.  And while it’s nice to see The Beatles with two entries, how can such a list omit Elvis, Buddy Holly or Chuck Berry?  I’m just sayin’.

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Friday, 30 January 2015

Before The Dawn


I don’t know: maybe all the protest songs have already been written.

Have a listen to Long Time Gone by Crosby Stills and Nash.  Sure, it’s about the assassination of RFK, but it’s about more than that right? 

Turn any corner
Hear what the people say
You know that something is going on around here
It surely, surely, surely won't stand the light of day

Speak out, you got to speak out against the madness
You got to speak your mind
If you dare

RFK spoke out against racism, inequality, a stupid war …  Wow!  That sounds like today.

But why use a 45 year old song – as compelling as it is - to talk about today?  How can that work?  Old fogeys like me will hear it and think about the 60’s.  Younger folk don’t listen to CSN(Y).  Who is singing out about today’s issues?

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Friday, 23 January 2015

There’s Something Happening Here


There is unrest in the land.  Check the headlines.  Turn on the news.  Things are not right, and the people are ticked.

How come, then, Rolling Stone’s 10 Best Protest Songs of All Time has one song from 1992, one from 1975, and 8 songs from the 60’s?  How come Dylan gets on the list four times?  Wait a minute: that’s obvious.

OK, but how come half the songs are about the Vietnam War?  Like nothing bad has gone down since?  No, that’s not true.  Check the headlines.

Is the musical world in denial?  Is its collective head in the sand?

Why are we singing “I’m coming up so you better get this party started,” when “there’s a battle outside and it’s raging?”  I thought art was supposed to imitate life, not avoid it.

Back over to you, Bob, I guess.

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Higher Than The Moon


Have a listen to St. Teresa by Joan Osborne.  Cool, eh?  Trippy video too.

Every time I play it, I think to myself, “Why did she never make another album after Relish?”  One great record, one overwhelming performance in Standing In The Shadows of Motown, then oblivion.

Starting a few months after Relish came out in 1995, I always looked in the Joan Osborne bin whenever I went browsing for CD’s – something I did often.  Always only the one album.

Eventually I gave up, and accepted that I was fated to repeat this sad question to myself every time I heard Joan Osborne.

Then a few weeks ago I remembered that after the album was released, this thing called the Internet exploded into our world, along with this really cool resource called Wikipedia.

So I finally looked up Joan Osborne in Wikipedia and discovered that she hadn’t disappeared at all.  In fact, she’s been very busy.

Damn!  Guess I got a bucketful of lost time to make up for.

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Friday, 9 January 2015

Music in the Cafes at Night; Revolution in the Air


Beale Street, Bleeker Street, Haight-Ashbury, Sunset Strip, Music Row and Motown.

These are the streets that changed music history, according to Rolling Stone - or is it Chrysler?  And of course, by Motown they mean West Grand Boulevard, but we’ll let that slide, shall we?

Elvis, Dylan, The Dead, The Doors, all those Motown hits, all that Country … no one’s gonna argue that some pretty important music came off these streets – and still does.

Here’s another one, though, that’s kind of a glaring omission:  Abbey Road.  A little band called The Beatles made a few hit records there, and I’m told they enjoyed a bit of influence in their day.  Oh, and The Hollies, The Shadows, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Oasis.

Oh wait a minute!  Guess they don’t get many Dodge Challengers driving around London.

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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Genrification


Speaking of genres (well, I was two posts ago), wasn’t it all so much easier when we though of everything as just pop – or rock ‘n’ roll (take your pick)?

But this genre thing is outta control.

I mean, I get that Easy Listening and Pop and Rock and Folk and R&B and Hip Hop just don’t cross paths too much any more(except maybe on awards shows).  I’m inured to the fact that rock has gone through all this cell division so we’ve got Folk Rock, Punk, Metal, Alternative, Prog, Indie and so on and so on and even more so on.

I’ve slowly come top recognize that we need additional labels such as House and Psychobilly, and Emo and Hardcore.  I guess they serve a purpose.

But brother, when I browse some online music sites, I’m overwhelmed by all these weird genres:  Doom?  Sleaze?  Sadcore?  Red Dirt?

Really?  What are these about?

OK, you can kinda guess what Melodic Death might be like, or Screamo, or Horrorcore, or Trip Hop.  Gothabilly you can almost picture (or hear, I guess).  Ditto Acid Folk, even Swamp.  I think.

And it turns out most ‘em have entries in Wikipedia, so I suppose there’s more than one band doing them.  But simple folk like me have to be enlightened as to why we need Shoegaze, Glitch or Grime.

But some of this sub-genrification is kinda pointless isn’t it?  I mean, Wikipedia defines Street Punk as “a working class-based genre of punk rock.”  Hello?  Was normal Punk something reserved for the upper class?  Like The Sex Pistols gave us music for Toffs?

Maybe some of these bands are just trying to distinguish themselves in ways that don’t involve their actual music.  Maybe they’re having us on.   Noir?  Heartfelt and Lyrical?  Youtube?  Jack Daniels?

I think I need a swig.

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Friday, 19 December 2014

If You Want It


    'nough said.