Friday, December 13, 2002

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Above are the latest entries in the by now gargantuan "My Favorite Albums Difficult to Find or Not Available on CD List": Jill Jones' eponymous 1986 release, and Graham Central Station's 1976 "Mirror".

To read about Ms. Jones, go here. You may remember her as the girl with the police hat, corset, and fishnets in Prince's 1999 video. Well, I do anyway. I was quite impressed. This is a remarkable effort, actually pretty much a Prince album recorded during his most creatively fecund period, when he was channeling Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Sly Stone, and the Beatles. He played most of the instruments, wrote most of the songs, produced, and probably designed the cover although I don't think so. All Jill had to do was show up and sing. He was nothing short of amazing back then. It was available on CD when it was initially released, but it sold jack and was deleted quickly, so the CDs are damned hard to find. I've got a copy on vinyl, and now that my turntable is dead, I can't listen to it anymore. I've got three songs from it on a mix tape I once made, and that's what got me all nostalgic and shit.

Larry Graham, the G of CS, was Sly's bass player until he got fed up with Sly's BS and started his own group. This was their 3rd or 4th release, I forget how many exactly. Frankly, except for about 2 or 3 songs per album, most of the Graham Central Station records are boring affairs, but this one boasts four stellar tracks out of eight and has garnered itself a place in the Johnny Bacardi Hall of Fame for Great Tuneage. The lead track (cleverly titled "Entrow") features marching band percussion, which would have caused a lot of high school band drum sections to wet themselves if they'd actually bought the frigging record. Love (Covers A Multitude of Sins) is a smooth, soulful track with great vocals. I Got A Reason swipes the actual melody of the old Folger's coffee commercials (if you've heard them you know what I mean, it was set to a coffee pot percolating) but isn't stupid. Graham must have hurt himself hitting the high note at the end; it's an amazing thing to hear. Finally, the last cut, an elegy for his father called Forever is a bit overlong but has a gorgeous group vocal melody which is mirrored (if you'll excuse the expression) by a squiggling synth line, at least 4 years before they became annoying. It's a wonderful record, probably the best thing by a Family Stone member (including Sly) since the Fresh album, and I'll be damned if I can figure out why it's not available in its entirity on compact disc. You can get a couple of cuts from it on one of the Graham anthologies available. The above scan looks like it does because that big black square in the middle is actually a reflective sheet of mylar, to simulate a- get ready for this- mirror! There is a strong strain of fundamentalist religion running through all the lyrics, though, and if that sort of thing bothers you then you should just get over it. No, seriously- just thought I'd mention it.

Music today-Girl Bros., Jade Warrior-Elements: The Island Anthology, Golden Smog-Weird Tales, Whiskeytown-Strangers Almanac, Semisonic-Feeling Strangely Fine.

Well, OK. Guess that'll do it for tonight. Y'know, it's funny- I go and click on other blogs and am constantly impressed and intimidated by the amount of great and interesting writing on them, and I look at my efforts and find myself, quite frankly, lacking. I begin to think I should just give it up; nobody cares. Most people want to read and write about their far more interesting lives (and I say that in all honesty and without a hint of sarcasm) or sex or politics or in-depth explorations into the multiple facets of the comics world or what have you, and I just can't compete. I think I should maybe be silent for a while, then fade away gracefully before I embarrass myself further. Then, I up and write two humongous entries. Sometimes I worry about me.