Ronstadt Round-Up

Linda Ronstadt, as much as Janis Joplin, paved the way for females who rock – not that Aretha didn’t pave the way too but soul is very different genre. In my collection I have as mp3 Stone Poneys – Evergreen Vol.2 (1967), Different Drum (Michael Nesmith) Stone Poneys III (1968), art folk. Solo: Silk Purse(1970) country, Linda Ronstadt (1972)   country rock – I Fall To Pieces;  Don’t Cry Now (1974) Desperado – producer Peter Asher; Heart Like a Wheel (1974) Asher You’re No Good; Prisoner in Disguise (1975) Tracks Of My Tears; Hasten Down The Wind (1976) ‘That’ll Be The Day’; Living in the USA (1978): Alison; Mad Love (1980)

The early Stone Poneys are adventurous, the sound is interesting & the material is smart. The band resented that she wanted to the call the shots & so it broke up. I love Hobo on III. Her solo career started off a little unsure as she explored country, country-rock & her voice in incredible but often the material & production reined her in – she did work with studio musicians who became the Eagles. 

But when Peter Asher took over the production her career soared. With songwriters like JD Southern, Jackson Brown, Laura Nyro, The McGarrigle Sisters & even Elvis Costello – she was amazing. I particularly loved ‘I drove past your house lates last night just to see if you were there’ Perhaps the bursty song about stalking & romantic obsessions I can think of. Her work with Nelson Riddle bored me – the songs were too tidy for me. Her Spanish language work is sublime but also was too smooth for me.

I added some other prime female vocalists to the mp3 CD. Smith: A Group Called Smith (1969) lead singer Gayle McCormick sings the shit out of Baby, It’s You. The group fell apart, she did a few solo lps but never really hit the charts again. Here too is Grace Slick’a Dreams (1980) – an unexceptional lp by one of the most exceptional pop voices ever.

The first Pretenders: The Pretenders (1979): with Tattooed Love Boys. This is a stunning lp of powerful raw songs & Chrissie is amazing, as she is on every Pretenders lp. What can one say about Marianne Faithful? Here is Broken English (1979), a remorselessly angry lp with eviscerating songs that quickly reestablished her as a major voice not merely some quiet nostalgia act. 20th Century Blues (1996) is a fine set of ‘cabaret’ & rock with songs by Brecht etc. 

Finally – a couple of more ‘modern’ singers: Grace Jones: Nightclubbing (1981): featuring Walking In The Rain – this was Grace’s step out of disco into alternative. Iconic songs, great engineering & a classic. After the end of the electrodance group Yaz, Alison Moyet launched her solo career with  Alf (1984) a set of sometimes over-dramatic songs that clearly opened the door for Adele. I love this lp.

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The Pretenders

First there was Leslie Gore, then along came Grace & Janis, eventually Suzi Quatro – female vocalists of differing power but all who rocked – paving the way for Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. In may collection I have Debut 1979, II 1981, Get Close 1986, The Singles 1987, Packed! 1990, Last of the Independents 1994, Viva el Amor 1999, Break Up the Concrete 2008. Some started as lps, progressed to cassette & now are here as either standalone or mp3.

I remember hearing that first lp & being struck by the all-out power of her vocals, her lyrics & that tough girl image. Emotionally raw & challenging romantic fantasy while being sexually frank about her own desires this lp is a rock classic. The band is tight, propelling & match her emotions note for note. Without playing it, I can hear Brass in the Pocket.

Their sound didn’t change much over the course of the lps I have but the emotional charge did dissipate – success often tempers anger 🙂 The lyrics become a little more world-view & verge on political. Chrissie reveals some vulnerability as well. In her later solo career she explores jazz .

There were changes in members, in labels, producers yet the band remained consistently focused – there was never, say, a disco phase, or a punk moments or any attempts at hip-hop. No attempts were made to force a hit-parade sound just solid musicianship & powerhouse vocals. If you’re looking for a rock band, look no further – they may be The Pretenders but they’re the real deal.

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Voices of Shallow Calm

Just to assure my followers I’m not stuck in the musical past I’m doing a Friday post about some modern music, Mainly a group called The Irrepressibles. On a mp3 collection with them I also have American Horror Story season 2 soundtrack; Basement Jaxx: Junto; Lacuna: Childhood; & just for the hell of it: Tranquility: Voices of Deep Calm (I guess Voices of Shallow Calm will come later.) Oh yes & a 70 min track of Ibiza Chilled Classics. Over 8 hours of divine music.

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the avocado throne

I came across the video for This Shirt & was stunned by it so became a fan of The Irrepressibles – on this MP3 collection I have Mirror Mirror, Nude, Landscapes, Shirt (remixes) – enough to hold me for awhile. If you Like Antony & the Johnsons  you’ll love this configuration of some of the same minds – stately, elegant and compelling.

This is what I call chamber pop – very controlled. Sigur Ros with English lyrics. The videos are homoerotic, the lyrics are queer positive. Strings abound as opposed to guitar & drums. One would like them to lighten up a little but if you want the fun side of these folks check out Hercules & Love Story.

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flops flipped

I love the American Horror Story: Season 2: The Name Game, Dominique, title music, etc. Very Mark Snow (X-Files) like with its jittery energy – fits in sweetly with This Shirt but with a somewhat eerier vibe.

To break things up I added Basement Jaxx: Junto (Special Edition). I’m a big Jaxx fan & have most of their cps. This one continues and expands on their energetic electronica dance style. Their early stuff almost rescued electronica from its nerdy niche. The Ibiza Chilled Classics is also to change things up a bit – I wanted a Chrissie Hynde song from the early 90’s – a sort new age thing & found it here mixed with some other ‘classics’ like Stone Roses.

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that’s not a California wrap

Someone on Tumblr posted a track by Childhood from Lacuna (Bonus Track Edition). I’d never heard of the ‘band’ before. Heavy reverb guitar, emo lyrics, slightly under the mix vocals: reminds me of Stone Roses – soothing but not dull.

Keeping in that mode I also added Tranquility: Voices of Deep Calm – again I was lead tot his via a posting of an interview with a man who can sing the lowest possible note one can hear, he was featured on this cd. Where? I can’t tell you. It is Russian choral music with the same elegant pacing as This Shirt.

samples

Aphrodisiac

I know you’re sore

after that gal you’d been hitting on

walked out on you after three drinks

how the last two chicks you dated

dumped you via text message

one of them still won’t return your calls

how they turn into such selfish bitches

but just because I’m a clean old queer

doesn’t mean I have any interest

in your macho macho meat

the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac

you may think I’m one of those

predatory homos you are sure

are always lurking around

hungry for any straight guy

to fall into my eager mouth

well honey you are in a dream world

the fact that I checked out our jeans

was because I was wondering where you got them

you know in this light

you are sort of cute

and kind of sweetly drunk

but I’m not drunk enough

so why don’t you find your buds

you aren’t getting anything here

‘cause if them nasty hos

you always seem to end up with

aren’t interested I’m certainly not

the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac mac

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October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

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