Monday, June 24, 2013

goodbye, wilko

I learned from a colleague at work that Wilko Johnson is ill. He has cancer and is not expected to live for very long.

For the uninitiated, Wilko Johnson was a singer, guitarist and sogwriter. He is probably best known as one of the founding members of Dr. Feelgood, though he was also part Ian Dury's backup group, The Blockheads, he was leader of the Solid Senders, and a solo artist. He had a peculiar style of guitar playing that enabled him to sound like two guitarists at once -- playing both rhythm and lead. If memory serves (and I am too lazy right now to check), he nicked that from Mick Green.

I have, in this blog, written about Wilko, so I'll not go into great detail here -- which is not to say that I am swearing off writing longer posts about him.

I'd be overstating things if I were to say that I will mourn Wilko's death. I am a fan of his, but I am not his friend or relative, and I will leave the mouring to those who knew him and will have a real loss in their life. That said, I will feel sad at his passing, and I will think of the hours of pleasure his musicianship has given me. There are the songs he wrote -- "Roxette," "She Does It Right," "You Shouldn't Call The Doctor (If You Can't Afford the Bills)." And there were others, but I'll stop at three. I remember when I first heard his solo album, Ice on the Motorway.

Thank you, Wilko.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

brainfarted out of seeing bobtown

Well, I'm bummed. After seeing Bobtown perform (a couple months back), I was looking forward to seeing them in June at the Beczak (I may be misspelling it) Center in Yonkers. I was really looking forward to it, but somehow it slipped my mind, and I didn't go.Now I'll have to wait until July 10 to see them in Southold.
Damn brainfarts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

a freecycle load of nothing

Remember how, early in 2012, I got a couple of freecycle batches off CDs in short succession? Those were really successful. Even though they included stuff that I was not interested in and had to pass along, they also had lots of stuff that I was happy to get --especially for free. In fact, truth be told I still haven't finished going through them.

Anyway, I got another batch of CDs. The freecycle entry indicated that many were without the cases. That's OK -- I have extra cases. And in any case, I can buy some. Or take them off the CDs that I'm not interested in from the last batch. This listing also indicated that I'd have to takle everything. That's also no problem. I don't mind going through stuff and picking out what I like.

But this batch was utter garbage. It was mostly homemade CD-Rs without any indication of what was on them. And they were all badly scratched.

You win some, you lose some.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

a great album and my mixed feelings

The other night I went out to meet a friend who's moving away. The venue was a small bar/rerstaurant in Sea Cliff. They had a band -- the Rusty String Band -- playing bluegrass. The band was good enough that I was up for buying some recotrded music. Without going into great detail, I ended up buying a solo CD by the fiddler, Russ Seeger.

What's interesting about this is that it's not a bluegrass album. Live in Peace is a strong blues-flavored album.The songs are generally strong -- although -- interestingly, there are a few places where I, thinking as a songwriter was conscious of how my decisions would have been different. Not necessarilly better. Just different. Seeger sings with an invigorating attention-grabbing snarl. The production is crisp, and the arrangements are generally spot on. My favorites are "California Blues"and the country-flavored "Towne Called Mercy." I hadn't heard about Seeger before Friday's show, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the disc. Following is a video of the title track:

This was not my favorite track on the album, but I didn't see any videos for my favorites. So this is what I'm posting.

Now, all that said, my enthusiasm is somewhat diminished by something else I found while I was looking for videos to accompany this post. A video for another song by Seeger that expresses an acidic fantasy of the deaths of Bush administration players and others who supported the war in Iraq. This is accompanied by various images, most notable being one of President Bush as a vampire biting the neck of the statue of liberty. Musically, the track is great. But the imagery is over the top, and the message is one I cannot support. There wasn't anything remotely close to this on the album I bought. Or if there was, then it was during a part of the album that played when I wasn't paying close attention (or it was subtle enough that I missed it). But I'm human and my feelings for the music will be tainted by my associating it with "Heroes." I'll let you judge for yourself:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

wreckless eric collection complete

My Wreckless Eric collection is complete. More or less. I got a used copy of A Roomful of Monkeys, the album he did ion 1985 with The Captains of Industry. I'd been looking for it for a while, and couldn't find it. But there it was on Amazon. Of course, this copy is on vinyl, so I'll have to copy it to CD through my computer. That'll be tricky. I have a USB turntable, but I got it several years ago. Our new computer has the 64-bit version of Windows 7, and I don't know if the software that came with the turntable is compatible. Of course, I don't even know if I still have the disc that came with the turntable. Maybe I'll just download Audacity. That should work.

By way of background, after Wreckless Eric left Stiff records, he became -- how to be diplomatic? -- less prominent. For a good stretch of time, I really wasn't into keeping up with his album releases. Remember, this was before the intertubes really took off. It wasn't quite as easy then to keep up with whether an artist is still recording, or find copies of albums. As that changed, I became better and better able to keep up with news. At some point I learned that Eric had albums that I hadn't known about -- Karaoke, which he realeased under his real name (Eric Goulden), and a few albums that he recorded as a member of bands -- two albums with the Len Bright Combo, one by the Hitsville House band and one with The Captains of Industry.

It was reasonably easy to get the LBC and HHB albums on CD. But the CoI album has eluded me. At one concert, Eric explained to me that there are some legal questions standing in the way of the album being reissued. Something about no one knowing for sure who owns the recordings. But now, after repeated searching (OK -- occaisonal searching) on Amazon, I found a copy. I don't honestly know if the album ever made it to CD. But this copy will. Of course, I haven't even had a chance to listen to it yet.