10 thoughts on “Albums on Saturday/Sundays (2022)

  1. Take the Fall (2018) Bush Tetras

    While looking up podcasts, I came across ; an interview with Thurstone Moore and two other people who were members of a band called Bush Tetras. I never heard of the band, but the blurb described their music as punk with a groove or something to that effect. Because that description appealed to me, I sought out their music.

    The band formed in the late 70s and soon broke up, but they would periodically reunite over the next several decades. Take the Fall is a relatively recent album that I checked out. Originally, I just planned to listen to snippets and listen to another album, but this one captured my attention–specifically, Cynthia Sley’s vocals and Pat Place’s distorted guitar. The music doesn’t groove, or at least that’s not the word I’d use, but I like it nonetheless–primarily because of Sley and Place.

    As for the compositions, they seem pretty good–but nothing really exceptional.

  2. Moondance (1970) Van Morrison

    Notes

    • I like the jazz elements in this–the use of horns, walking bass in “Moondance.”
    • I’m liking the performance by the musicians on this, particularly the bassist, who is recorded nicely.
    • The music, at times, reminds me of The Band
    • I like the groove in “Come Running.” It almost sounds a little like “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease. Again, the bass sounds good.
    • (I’m not really listening carefully to the lyrics now, but I need to do that on the next listening.)
  3. Complete Greatest Hits of Gordon Lightlightfoot (2002)

    Notes:

    • Seems like really good music for a Saturday or Sunday morning.
    • I was never really a big Lightfoot fan. I think his voice had too many folk trappings that were a turnoff for me. I’m still not crazy when those traists are more pronounced.
    • The guitar playing sounds good.
    1. He has such a great voice. Distinct. Nobody sounds like him. His voice sounds like 70s record sleeves. It sounds like those golden era of film 70s flicks with long drives through golden fields with lens flares and David Gates on the car radio.

      1. I know lyrics don’t move you, but Lightfoot’s lyrics really slap me around sometimes. I’m listening right now to my 70s Mellow playlist, and “Carefree Highway” just came up.

        Picking up the pieces of my sweet, shattered dream
        I wonder how the old folks are tonight?
        Her name was Ann
        And I’ll be damned if I recall her face
        She left me not knowing what to do

        Ugh, so good. Her named was Ann and I’ll be damned if I recall her face? Geez.

        Turning back the pages to the times I love best
        I wonder if she’ll ever do the same?
        Now the thing that I call living
        Is just being satisfied
        With knowing I got no one left to blame

        This is like getting punched twice. Once in the gut with “I wonder if she’ll ever do the same,” because — and I’m reluctant to share too personally about this — one thing that’s kept me up some nights is wondering if someone thinks of our time together merely as just one failed relationship that led to her permanent one, or if there’s ever something wistful and pleasant in remembering. Or if (the part that makes it difficult to sleep) she just never thinks of it at all. It’s a great sentiment, boiled down to a few words, one I didn’t think others felt.

        The second punch, this one to the head, is “The thing I call living is just being satisfied…” which I think we all wonder once in a while.

        Anyway. I’m not trying to convert you. Just expressing my appreciation for an underappreciated musician. Everyone covers “Fire and Rain.” They should all be covering “Carefree Highway,” if you ask me!

    2. It sounds like those golden era of film 70s flicks with long drives through golden fields with lens flares and David Gates on the car radio.

      That’s a good description!

    3. Anyway. I’m not trying to convert you. Just expressing my appreciation for an underappreciated musician.

      No, I love your analysis, and I really welcome more of it.

      On a related note, it’s not that the lyrics don’t move me so much as hearing and absorbing the meaning or impact of the lyrics pulls me away from the music. If the music isn’t super interesting or moving, this is OK, but the impact of the lyrics isn’t going to be enough…Shoot, I guess it’s fair to say that “lyrics don’t move me,” or at least they don’t sufficiently do it for me.

      But that normally applies to my listening experience. If I’m going to talk about music and judge its artistry, the lyrics can matter a great deal, depending on the music.

      With Lightfoot, I wasn’t focusing on the lyrics, but I could sense something good there. I’m going to be discussing the album, so I wish I put in more time to focus on the lyrics.

  4. The Carpenters Greatest Hits 35th Anniversary (2004)

    Notes

    • “Let Me Be the One”–The chorus, with the horn accompaniment–a sound I really like–makes me think of late 80’s, early 90’s groups like Swing Out Sister and maybe even Basia.
    • There’s quite a bit of covers on this, and my sense is that the results are mixed, maybe more on the negative side. Covers I liked: “Jambalaya (on the Bayou)” is pretty successful, though. “Rainbow Connection” sounds pretty good, too.
    • Covers I didn’t like: “California Dreamin”–kinda sounds cheesy version you’d hear on a 70’s TV special;
    • “Only Yesterday”–has that 70’s sound, with a little 60’s flavor–late 60s? Liked.
    • “Sweet Sweet Smile”–dabbling in country sound–e.g., the guitars. Solid. “A Kind of Hush” has that, maybe to a lesser degree (e.g., sounds like there’s a steel guitar solod).
    • “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”–getting in on the elevated interest of UFOs and aliens that occurred in the 70s. I’m not sure when this was made, but I’d guess after Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.
    • “I Just Fall in Love With You”–this is the type of treacly, melodramatic songs that I don’t care for. Air Supply came to mind.

      On last comment. I don’t really care for listening to this type of romantic music, which is too treacly, particularly the lyrics and to a lesser extent the music, perhaps. But in spite of this, I think Carpenter’s vocals still sound great. To me, her vocals are the sound of dreamy romantic longings–something I suspect captures the sentiments of millions of suburban teenage girls listening to this in their bedroom–while also having the capacity to melt the hearts of teenage boys, making them fall in love with her. As an adult male, one who has moved away from this type of music, I wasn’t sure how I’d react to her singing, but it still sounds great; I’d put her in the top 5 of all-time great female singers. When one describes a vocal timbre as “buttery,” or “creamy,” her voice would be exhibit A. She’s like a female vocal version of Johnny Hodge’s alto-saxophone.

      With regard to this quality, it’s the middle register–almost her speaking voice–that captures this. Actually, it’s the way she moves from the middle to high registers, and vice-versa. Her range here isn’t great, and she doesn’t make these huge and abrupt intervallic leaps (cf. Dennis Pavao), but the movement between the low-middle-high sound so good.

  5. Rags to Riches (1974) Rufus

    Personnel
    Chaka Khan – lead vocals, background vocals
    Dennis Belfield – background vocals, bass
    André Fischer – drums, percussion, background vocals
    Kevin Murphy – organ, clavinet, background vocals
    Al Ciner – electric & acoustic guitars, background vocals
    Ron Stockert – lead vocals, keyboards, background vocals

    (The album featured a horn and string string, but I couldn’t find the names of the musicians.)

    Notes

    • “I Got the Right Street (but the Wrong Direction)”–sounds like the Dr. John song, with a similar title
    • “Rags to Rufus”–is a 70’s instrumental a la “Machine Gun” by The Commodores
    • solid R&B, funk; liked this.
  6. Minute by Minute (1978) Doobie Brothers

    Notes

    • “Here to Love You”–honky-tonk-ish piano opening, but then it settles more into a Michael McDonald vibe, which I really like.
    • I really like “What a Fool Believes.” I’m guessing there must be other songs about a similar subject matter–namely, a guy who encounters a woman whom he loved and whom he thought loved him, at least at some point. But she never did. One idea is that
    • “Minute by Minute”–like.
    • “Dependin on You”–Patrick Simmons and the backing band remind me of Player, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that Player reminds me of this? Wasn’t expecting the guitar solo; it was decent.
    • I’m liking the band and the songs on this./li>
    • “Don’t Stop to Watch the Wheels”–more of a rock song, with an interesting guitar riff opening and moving through the song, and provides a nice change up.
    • “Open Your Eyes”–I’m not familiar with this song, but I liked it–the composition, McDonald’s vocals and the keyboards.
    • “Sweet Feelin”–Nicollete Larsen sings on this, almost a duet, with an early 70’s AM sound.
    • “Steamer Lane Breakdown”–countrified instrumental, reminding me of a Chet Atkins song, but a little more hard-driving. Liked, but I feel like it should have been shorter.
    • “You Never Change”–OK/li>
    • “How Do the Fools Survive”–like the funky bassline; song sung McDonald, written by him and Carole Bayer Sager.

    I like this album, even the lesser songs brought some enjoyment to me. I really love McDonald and the his songs and overall vibe. I also enjoyed the Simmons’s vocals and the songs he sang, but a little less.

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