Three birthdays of note have come up, both yesterday and today, and I wanted to, well, note 'em. So here ya go. First:
Kinks-man Raymond Douglas Davies, 60 yesterday. My love for the music of the Kinks is entirely based on the period from, oh, 1966 to 1975, when their music was inventive, melodic, wistful, clever, raucous, and many other adjectives. After a label shift in 1976, though nearly every trace of what made their music so special (subtlety, wit, melodicism) was left behind in their consuming desire to compete with the Punks and to "Give The People What They Want" by incessantly touring America and delivering a pandering arena-rock sound not only in concert but also on record, "Come Dancing" notwithstanding. By the time this no longer became an issue, Ray and brother Dave had apparently lost the plot for good. Of course, now the Kinks are long broken up, and Ray soldiers on as a solo performer, giving pretty good performances of the classic Kinks repertoire, and good on him. One 80s Ray tune that I love, though, is "Quiet Life" from the soundtrack of the film Absolute Beginners.
Also, musician/producer/graphic artist/man with many hats Todd Rundgren turns 56 today. Todd's another artist whose music has left me cold since 1986 or so, but I always hold out hope that he still has one great one left in him. It's faint, but flickering. He usually can still be counted on to give a pretty good live performance, though, and I've seen a couple of TV lately. The number of albums he's produced that I love deeply is significant, from Steve Hillage's L through XTC's SkylarKing to The Pursuit of Happiness' One Sided Story and so on and so on. Favorite album: 1973's Carole King-on-acid A Wizard/A True Star. Underrated: 1984's Utopia on Nettwork records, a great poprocksong collection that should have garnered more attention than it did.
Finally, Howard Kaylan, (R above) the "Eddie" of Flo & Eddie, is 59 on this very day. First as a member of the deranged pop group The Turtles, then as Zappa's vocalists/comedy relief in the early 70s Mothers of Invention, then on their own and as vocalists for an amazing number of artists such as Marc Bolan & T.Rex, Kaylan and his partner Mark "Flo" Volman have been responsible for a lot of excellent tuneage over the years. When, oh when are we gonna get 1973's Flo & Eddie on CD?
Happy birthday to all.