Sunday, July 11, 2004

Captian Eclectic Strikes Again!

I didn't get a lot of what I had planned to do, well, done over the holiday weekend, but I did take the time to create another mix CD out of the accumulated mp3s on the good ol' indigo iMac. Hey! Why don't I share the track list with all of you!

Prince is kinda like the Dale Murphy of funk-rock music, someone who was awesome, one of the greats...but when he lost it, he lost it fast and just can't seem to get it back no matter how hard he tries. This is a not-bad, not-great James Brown-inspired workout from his latest album of the same name. He gives a lot of namechecks to other funk artists in the lyrics, making it his answer to Charlie Daniel's "The South's Gonna Do It Again". Looking at the CD from whence this came in the store, I've come to one conclusion: Mr. Rogers Nelson is in dire need of a graphic designer with more than a rudimentary knowledge of Photoshop and more imagination and smarts than to do the cheap-looking type effects he's used on just about every release since, oh, 1993's Come. I volunteer, for half of what he's been paying the people that have been churning out the crappy package designs of his last five dozen or so releases...

Air-Playground Love
Don't know much about these guys, although the person who worked at my computer at the Snooze before I came along had their Moon Safari album on the iTunes and I've given it a listen or three. It's OK, but I'm not crazy about it. I heard this cut on a car commercial or something like that, liked it a lot, downloaded the mp3, and now here it is. Bluesy, almost Floyd-ish track with sax'n'synths throughout.

BBC-Ming Tea (from the Austin Powers- International Man of Mystery soundtrack)
Mike Myers assembled a band which featured, among others, Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs for his goofy spy movie satire. They named themselves Ming Tea, and recorded a couple of tracks which made their way into the film. If I recall correctly, this is the cut they performed over the end credits, and I've always liked it, if nothing else than for Myers' vocal. BBC One! BBC Two! BBC Three! BBC Four!...etc.

Hall & Oates-Wait For Me
Everybody makes fun of Hall & Oates these days, but when we're done imitating VH1 pseudo-celebrity talking heads the fact remains that these fellas made some great pop-soul-rock back in the late 70s and early 80s, and this is the one cut which I always felt deserved to be a big hit. It reminds me a lot of Todd Rundgren for some reason, even down to the melody that sounds inspired by Todd's "A Dream Goes On Forever". From the 1979 album X-Static, which contains more than a few catchy tracks but failed to hit big and was completely forgotten in the wake of its successor, Voices, which made them huge stars for a while there.

George Harrison-Miss O'Dell
The mega-obscure b-side to 1973's "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" single, it's an agreeable acoustic guitar-and-slide ditty as only George could do 'em. It's a what-the-hell kinda cut that is part social commentary and part piss-taking- I'm thinking that "Miss O'Dell" is actually Dennis O'Dell, a business partner of some sort. Anyway, I ran across this via Limewire and couldn't resist downloading it 'cause you can't find it on legitimate releases. Sound quality is not so good.

Sabotage- the Beastie Boys
Irresistable hard-rocking track, which benefitted from the goofy retro-70's-cop-show video it sported. I really don't have a good excuse for not owning the album from whence this comes, but there ya go. I remember seeing the Beasties do this on an MTV awards show, and it rocked harder than this cut did. Like to have a file of that one!

Like A Feather-Nikka Costa
Costa is Sinatra's goddaughter, or something like that, and she came on like a funky young Janis, with flying red tresses, fringed vest and aerodynamic dance moves in the video for this song from her debut album a couple of years ago. It troubled the charts, but she wasn't able to follow it up and is now destined for obscurity as other young riddim and blooze singers like Joss Stone take her place. I liked this song well enough to download, but not enough to make me curious about the rest of the record, so it remains unheard by my ears and is most likely to remain so unless I run across a copy for a buck or something.

Aztec Camera-The Crying Scene
A poprockish Brit band led by one Roddy Frame, Aztec Camera made some noise during the late 80s and early 90s over here. I was familiar with their Love album, from whence came the very 80s-with-syths-and-syndrums-all-over-everything track "Deep and Wide and Tall", which had a great melody, and this was the single from their subsequent album Stray. I was working at the radio station when Stray was released, and played the hell out of this, but as with so many records I played a lot at said radio station, I got kinda tired of it and didn't buy when I quit the station, I never got around to picking it up and finally, years later, I got all nostalgic and downloaded it. "Crying Scene" is a sharp, snappy rocker with a great melody and a nice guitar solo that probably should have been a huge hit. It was a smallish one, but not huge. The Camera have released a few albums since, but I haven't heard 'em. C'est la vie.

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel-Understand
Harley was a post-glam pre-punk UK rock singer who fronted a band called Cockney Rebel. Of course, there was very little rebelliousness about the band's output, and very little of it sounded Cockney, for that matter, but that's neither here nor there. Harley had a couple of hits across the pond back in the mid-70s, including a song titled "Make Me Smile" (Come Up and See Me). I used to own five SH/CR albums, got most of 'em for a buck somewhere, and I'll be damned if I can remember much of anything from four of 'em except a brash cover of the Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun" from one of the two 1976 albums he issued, Love's A Prima Donna. It's the other release from '76 that grabbed me, Timeless Flight, and that's the album from whence this cut came. It was kind of a pretentious, arty, folkish, understated album that wasn't perfect by any stretch but had its share of remarkable cuts, and "Understand" was my favorite. It's a long (over 7 minutes), lilting track with nice backing vocals and a squiggly synth solo in the middle that is quite wonderful. Until recently, Timeless Flight was unavaliable on CD, and my son, when he was a baby, kinda got ahold of my vinyl copy and destructatated it, and finding new vinyl copies has been problematic and difficult at I haven't heard this album in over 20 years. When I saw this track available for download, I pounced.

Roy Wood's Wizzard-Are You Ready To Rock?
Recorded when Roy was still working out his obsession with emulating the sounds of classic rock 'n roll (see Introducing Eddy and the Falcons, which included this cut as a bonus track when rereleased in 1996), and this particular form of flattery involves Bill "Rock Around The Clock" Haley. It's a fun tune, and went unheard by me for many years (many of Wood's Wizzard hits were UK singles-only) before I ran across the mp3. It's got a wicked cool bagpipes solo in the middle. You heard me.

Fleetwood Mac-Albatross
Muted, lovely instrumental from the 1969 Peter Green-era Mac. Was said to be the inspiration for John Lennon's "Sun King" from Abbey Road, and after listening you'll see why.

The Alan Parsons Project-Don't Answer Me
I first became aware of the musical endeavors from the former Fabs/Floyd engineer and friends with the 1975 release of their Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe LP. That was an imaginative spin on Poe's works, ably fleshed out by Parson's studio expertise. Subsequent albums, though went of on Sci-Fi tangents and got progressively (no pun intended) lamer each year, and I had completely written them off. Then, out of the blue, they hit the airwaves with this gorgeous Phil Spector pastiche, and I loved it. But burnt child that I am sometimes, I bought the 45. So years later I decided I would like to have it on CD, so I looked for the mp3, and now I do. And I still own the debut album only.

Miz Ciccone's last worthwhile single to date. I just haven't worked up much enthusiasm for getting the album it's from or its predecessor, but this never fails to make me bob my head and dance around in that awkward geeky fat white boy way when I hear it. I loved the video, too, with it's neat animated sequence and Ali G (" you Madonna?").

I Hate My Frickin' ISP-Todd Rundgren
When observing Todd's birthday a week or two ago, I noted that I haven't heard any albums from him in a long time that I cared to buy...but that doesn't mean I've been left cold by everything he's done. Case in point, this funny rocker from the 2000 effort One Long Year. Again, I haven't been provoked to try and get a copy of this disc, which was initially released through his website, but I sure like this cut.

Gosh, there are a lot of tracks on this CD...oh well, onward...

Monkey Gone To Heaven-the Pixies
Despite the fact that I love several of their songs, I don't own a single album by this group. This is probably my favorite, for its "Then GAAAAHD is seven! Then GAAAAHD is seven" refrain.

The Moon and St. Christopher-Kate Rusby
Now here's a great recording. Rusby's basically a Britfolkie, who has released several albums which mix originals with traditional tunes in that time-honored FairportSteeleye style. She is, of course a drop-dead gorgeous young lady with one of those slightly raspy English young lady singing voices which always yank my crank. Anyway, this one's a cover of a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, one of those slick country artists who I have little or no use for, even though I understand she was more listenable early in her career...but Rusby combines a beautiful arrangement with an amazing vocal performance, and makes this one a keeper. This isn't on any of her proper solo releases, it appears on Intuition, a CD on which she appeared with several other artists that she was affiliated with. I found this out when I emailed her website a year or two ago, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a reply from Kate's sister giving me the skinny on where I could find this song.

U.S. Blues-The Grateful Dead
Never been much of a Dead head, but a buddy used to have the album from whence this came, The Grateful Dead at the Mars Hotel, and this was the one cut which jumped out and stuck with me. Never wanted to take the plunge ad get the whole thing, so here I am with the mp3. An agreeable bluesycountry shuffle with amusing lyrics. I always liked this album's cover.

Solsbury Hill-Peter Gabriel
Gabriel used to name each of his solo releases "Peter Gabriel". These days, he's worked his way up to one word titles. Pete's albums tend to leave me mostly cold, even though there's usually two or three tracks I really like on each of them. This is a oddly haunting, flute (or mellotron imitating one)-driven track from his first album. You know, the one that has him sitting in the car and looking through the rain-beaded windshield. I think a live version of this song became a hit ten or so years later. Just to demonstrate the totally irrelevant associations I make sometimes, I think Ian Anderson ripped this off for his song "Moths" from the 1978 Jethro Tull album Heavy Horses As if anybody cares.

Getting Better-Gomez
Gomez is a British band that combines rootsiness with an adventurous (to be kind) arrangement style that fails as often as it works. When I like 'em, I love 'em, and when I don't, they can be an endurance test. Anyway, this is a cover of the Beatles song that I first heard in a General Electric commercial. I fell in love with the vocal (the growly, elastic style of Ben Ottewell) I heard on the 1 minute (or less) snippet, and that led me to discover the band. This eventually ended up on an odds-and-sods compilation titled Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline, the most Camper Van Beethovenish title I've ever heard that wasn't by Camper Van Beethoven.

No More I Love You's-Annie Lennox
I suppose by now you're wondering why I didn't put something by Sting on here as well. Anyway, I've never been the most rabid of fans when it came to Eurythmics and Ms. Lennox; some things I like ("Missionary Man", "I Need A Man") and most of it I don't. This is one of the few solo things she did that I wanted to hear more than's a cover of a sing by an obscure group named The Lover Speaks, and she gives it a great vocal arrangement over a vaguely funky beat. As with Sarah McLaughlin, God bless the inventor of the mp3, so I can have songs by artists I wouldn't otherwise touch with your CD player.

Don't Fuck With Me-Jill Sobule
Heh heh...she said "fuck". Ken Ringwood's favorite Jill song. Actually, I've heard her perform this live, but don't own the album on which it appears. I think I got this mp3 from her site. Anyway, it's her specialty- wry humor with a great melody, ably strummed on the acoustic guitar. If you've never seen her perform live, I sincerely hope you get to someday. She's great.

Whew! That's the end! And guess what. I don't think I have enough mp3s for another sampler disc...but fear not for Captain Eclectic, he's never down for long!

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