Pink Floyd

By Pink Floyd I have Piper At The Gates Of Dawn 1967, Saucer Full Of Secrets 1968, Ummagumma 1969, Atom Heart Mother 1970, Live 1970, Meddle 1971, Live at Pompeii 1972, Dark Side of the Moon 1973, Wish You Were Here 1975, Animals 1977, The Wall 1979, Delicate Sound of Thunder 1988, The Division Bell 1994, Pulse 1995. And Return to the Dark Side of the Moon a tribute lp (2006). Some as stand-alones, others as mp3.

Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother & Meddle are perhaps my favourites. Their first two lps were trippy pop songs, radio stuff but in those next three they they became experimental, stretching the notion of what rock pop could be. The mp3 of Atom Heart contains the full tracks, the lp had some of edited down to fit the limits of vinyl. I loved the choral work on it. The band owed more to Booker T & the MJs than was recognized at the time. Electronic groups like Underworld owe a debt of gratitude to Meddle.

Dark Side was their return to more ‘tradition’ song form & length & it was a stunning success. The Wall hit the right rebellious notes but I wasn’t that big a fan. The many live releases are excellent but they seem intent on reproducing studio work than expanding & exploring it. If you are unfamiliar with Pink Floyd I suggest you crawl out of your cave lol.

Mixed in with the mp3 collections are: Procol Harum: Home 1970 – they leave their organ based sound to embark on blistering guitar work; King Crimson: Starless & Bible Black 1974  – this is true progrock with amazing freeform – almost jazz like sonic explorations. Then the US band Formerly Anthrax: Show Of Hands 1970 – I had this sweet lp & eventually replaced it with mp3 – organ based pop. They are not to be confused with the British group Show Of Hands. I have a ‘hits’ compilation by them – Backlog 87-91. A version of Traffic. A band I only found searching for Formerly Anthrax 🙂

Give Me A Little Sign


a bluejay feather dances over snow 

the first full moon of the new year

a silent wrap of smoke

forms the letters of a name

whose name   mine   yours 

our hopes for the future

a dangling curtain moving at dawn

a pale   handless shape

peers out into the fog

before the fire burns pure ashes 

to scatter sooty on the snow

for the next fitful omen


a bus pulls up at the right moment

an old friend alive

where you least expected to see them

the number nine keeps popping up

how many times before it has meaning

like that bluejay feather 

it has to have a meaning

a good moment to do something

but I don’t know where to begin

play the lottery  submit that manuscript

make that phone call I’ve been putting off


should I act blindly

or bide my time for a better opportunity

a voice in an empty room

a phone call that goes unanswered 

was that wrong number the right one

where are my lucky shoes

what do the stars have to say


entrails of run over squirrel tell me 

it isn’t wise to dash across a busy street

grounds in the bottom of my Tim’s cup

tell me it’s time 

they cleaned that damn machine

that look in your eyes tells me 

it’s time to drop my guard


will our clothes piled on the floor

the fold of pants legs and t-shirts

twined accidentally in the dark

be a sign of more than pleasure to be had

is there a message 

in the goosebumps on your back

in the fevered breath on my thigh

can I let a kiss be a kiss 

not the next fitful omen

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13 Elevators to Fifty Foot War

The next five pop music posts will cover a set of mp3 compilations that I put together of old music that was, for the most part, new to me. Many are garage band, one-hit wonders, others are psychedelic bands whose lps that never made it to the east coast. Several are ‘oddities’ I came across. Obscure for the most part but all fun fun fun. You can find wiki info of most of them.

13th Floor Elevators (Austin, Texas): Psychedelic Sounds of (mostly live) (1966) includes You Really Got Me; Easter Everywhere (1967) – includes  Postures (Leave Your Body Behind). This band claims the first use of the word “psychedelic” in reference to the music so I had to have them, right? Goofy love songs, anti-war rants with heavy reverb, wha-wha, distorted vocals & slithery guitar work. Perfection.

Fireballet: Bald Mountain (1975) – we can thank Emerson, Lake & Palmer for the flourishing of 70’s Symphonic Prog. This British band, produced by Ian McDonald (King Crimson), is a mild version of ELP, The bass sound is a bit ‘thin’ but they work hard, churning out pretentious fun including their 20 minute take on Night of Bald Mountain. 

Archie Bell & The Drells (Huston Texas): Tighten Up (1968) includes Midnight Hour, Knock on Wood. This is the retro odd-one-out. Sweet, soulful, funky & refreshing. Like so many groups of the time, regardless of genre, they did covers of the new standards i.e. Midnight Hour. 

Another legendary band is Fifty Foot Hose (San Francisco): Cauldron (1968) plus Rare tracks. They are remarkable for featuring a variety of homemade synths. This is truly trippy music with speaker-dancing engineering, echo, mystic lyrics, fine singing & spacey instrumental passages. It reminded me of how I thought how music should sound when you’re stoned.

Finally on this compilation is Eric Burdon declares “War” (Long Beach) (1970) includes Tobacco Road, Spill The Wine. Eric Burdon re-invented himself several times, always with fascinating sonic results. This time with War for a couple of great albums full of experimental, almost prog-rock work but always with a blues, r’n’b underpinning. This lp gave him, Spill The Wine, one of his few top ten songs after he disbanded the Animals. Smooth, funky fun. The follow up, Black Man’s Burdon – which I have in another compilation is less funky but still great.

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Amen King Baby

Next in the ‘m’ section is Mighty Baby: The Action, Mighty Baby, Jug Of Love, Tasting The Life Live 1971; Amen Corner (Scream and Scream Again);  King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King (Bonus tracks). Beautiful People: If 60’s were 90’s: bonus Remixes.

Mighty Baby started out as The Action. I’d never heard of them until a track came up in my Tumblr feed a few years ago. There is an endless number of this good British bands that never made it to the North American market. Good wasn’t enough 🙂 The Lps are enjoyable if unexceptional. Solid pub pop that reflects prevailing trends with a touch of prog, some strong Traffic influences, psychedelic & music hall. Sound quality is good. 

Amen Corner is similar though more ‘arty.’ They reminded me of groups like Savoy Brown, Procol Harum. I knew their name but had never heard them until they showed up in the horror movie  ‘Scream and Scream Again.’ There was movie trend to include scenes with actual current pop groups. So Amen shows up in a disco scene singing the title song & looking like a dandified version of the Zombies. It’s clear that the dancers aren’t facing to the song the band is supposedly playing. They don’t have any scenes with the film’s star Vincent Price. Another fine British group that never crossed the ocean This is a sort of ‘best of’ collection. btw Amen Corner is out of Cardiff – Welsh pop 🙂

King Crimson is a British group that did make in big in America. I love In The Court of the Crimson King & added this re-mastered released that has live bonus tracks. This is the epitome of prog rock, psychedelic flower-power pop. It lives up to its reputation.  

Lastly a reissue of Beautiful People’s If 60’s were 90’s with bonus remixes. As this is sampled & remixes of Jimi Hendrix to begin with it now has remixes of some of those remixes. I love this lp – I had it for a time as a stand-alone then opted for this remastered reissue. Hendrix purists dislike this but it is fun, funky, inventive and the remixed remixes are great. 

In The Class Room

“Could you pass me that book’?” Mrs. McLean gestured with the stump of her left arm.

“This one?” I picked up the English text that had fallen off her desk.

She had two arms yesterday. In her sleeveless flowered yellow dress the stump was odd. A left arm that ended just before the elbow and nothing on the other side. As if it was a trick of the light; that my eyes were almost seeing what was once there. 

I didn’t want to stare too obviously. It wasn’t red or raw, the end was smooth, healed. It seemed impossible to me that less that twenty-four hours ago she had a flesh and blood arm there & now it was gone. I wanted ask her what happened. Then I hoped maybe she’d tell us what it had happened.

She went to the board and started to write with an apparatus two of the students helped strap to her left arm. Her writing was jagged, child-like & it got worse as she went along. At one point she rubbed some of it off with her right shoulder. She stopped abruptly with her back to us, her head pressed to the blackboard, sobbing.

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King Crimson

By King Crimson I have in my collection as stand-alones: In The Court of the Crimson King; Wake Of Poseidon; Lizard; Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. As mp3 I have the expanded In The Court of the Crimson King; Islands; Starless & Bible Black; Red. All hail the mellotron that dominates that first lp 🙂 Also, all hail the iconic cover art.

King Crimson crossed from quirky pop to progrock to experimental from track to track becoming progressively more experimental from lp to lp. Court starts with the harsh Schizoid Man and drifts into the hippy-dippy I Talk To The Wind. It never returns to that harsh sound. The band is similar (here)n at times to Moody Blues for overtly poetic lyrics. Also echos of Pink Floyd. But these groups cross-influenced each other.

I love ‘Cat Food’ (piano work stolen by David Bowie on Aladdin Sane). My favourite, of what I have, is ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspec.’ The engineering is astonishing & the lp holds together as a whole. A another favourite track is ‘Ladies on the Road’ from Islands which has one of the dirtiest sax solos by Mel Collins I’ve ever heard by anyone.

King Crimson band members were involved in other notable bands: Lake in Emerson, Lake & Palmer; McDonald in Foreigner; Burrell in Bad Company, and Wetton in U.K. and Asia. Robert Fripp & Adrian Belew influenced decades of keyboard & guitarist & appear on uncountable tracks by nearly everyone 🙂 from David Bowie to the Rolling Stones to Tina Turner.

a more detailed look at ‘Court’

More Than A Little Fun

“You know, I sort of like you.” Juan pulled me closer to him in the bed.

“I hear that happens.” I kissed him. This was always the point where I got sort of antsy. I liked him. He was articulate, fun in bed, had a decent job. “But we’ve known each other for, what? Less than a month.”

“Long enough to know this more than a little fun for me.” He rolled with his back to me.

“If we were the same age how would you feel?” I spooned him.

“Ten years isn’t such a big difference when you pass thirty. Unless it means something to you.”

“Nope.” I had a different age in each profile, so I was never sure how old I was supposed to be. None of them my real age, either. That I did know. Plus having looked in his wallet earlier I knew he hadn’t been honest about his age either. He was younger than he claimed to be. I drifted off before I could answer him

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glueleg vs Gnarls

glueleg is a Canadian band you might not expect me to enjoy as much as I do. I have as stand-alones: Heroic Doses, Clodhopper. A now defunct Toronto band they had a hard-edged progressive, art-rock sound – think punk Blood Sweat & Tears! That’s right or even Chicago thanks to a section of sax, trumpet along with their distinctive grunge sound. Reminiscent of Kind Crimson – they even do a cover version of Red.


I saw a video on MuchMusic – remember when that as a video channel? The horn sound held my attention – the rhythm  was a bit clunky in a funky boozy jazz way. The lyrics were a bit surreal but romantic in the hetero angsty way. A rare Canadian art-rock band that worked well without feeling contrived or bored with it all. 


Next is Gnarls Barkley. I have St. Elsewhere, the odd couple as stand-alones. Yes there is a sprinkle of ‘modern’ pop in the my collection 🙂 These guys produced great summer hits that are an updated Marvin Gaye – r’n’b, urban trip-hop that is not overly challenging. I’d say it is perfect radio music but who listens to the radio anymore? I guess it’s perfect Spotify music (I don’t have Spotify).


Not as overtly sexual as say LMFAO but with the same pop smarts. Beautifully engineered the band is a delight to hear on headphones. Danceable, romanic, humorous, hetero music that is safe for the whole family. It’s good to know that there is urban music that isn’t all anger & angst. Crazy, eh?


The phone hadn’t rang all night. Dave kept hearing it though, over the sound of the dishwasher, while he vacuumed but it didn’t ring. Not once.

If his sister thought he was going to be a hotel at a moment’s notice she had another thing coming. This place was barely large enough for him, let alone her and Sally.

The phone didn’t ring. He picked it up several times times to call her but stopped. Calling would  only alert her mistake, as she called Matt, the guy she had married.

He could still see that wedding photo taken at the reception. She and Matt by a painting. He figured they weren’t aware of that painting. But he couldn’t miss the fact that it was a sailing ship going down in a storm with the face of Christ in the clouds offering salvation. An omen.

Only he was no salvation for anyone. No, she’d have to make other arraignments. Besides that letter was postmarked almost a week ago. If they were going to arrive they would have been there by now. 

The phone hadn’t rung. A good omen.

He wasn’t going to lose sleep over this. Couldn’t. Too much to do at the denim mine tomorrow. New shipments to sort. Make more sales. His real life. The life that give him purpose, accomplishment.

The vacuuming done he put the Hoover in its corner of the front closet. Closets in apartments were just too small. No storage space for much of anything. If he bought anything new he had to get rid of something else to make space for it. Kept life simple and compact.

Yes that was good. No room for anything more. 

No room for dolls, sister’s suitcases. She would bring the dog too. Was he allowed a dog in this building? Yes he’d seen some on the elevator. Stoop and scoop. Oh no, not him. Something to teach Sally to do.

It was nearing midnight. Everything was in order once again. Ready for the wave of his morning departure to scatter things here and there so that when he returned from work he had something to do, something to look forward to. Yes it felt good to make things neat and tidy. Kept them in their place.

The phone didn’t ring all night.

Dave drifted off to sleep quickly. Another dreamless night

every Tuesday

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Because of their alphabetic closeness I’ve a couple of mp3 collections of albums by ELO and ELP. Two British groups that represent different aspects of prog rock. ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) sprung from The Move and have a clearly more radio friendly pop sound that at one time was playing with classical themes i.e. combining Beethoven’s Fifth with Roll Over Beethoven – their first few lps had them searching for what became a very commercial sound.

ELO were fond of themed lps: ElDorado with Wizard of Oz. There are too many great tracks to name check all over these recordings but the more commercially accruable they became the less interest they held for me. I have II/ ElDorado/Out of the Blue /New World Record.

By ELP (Emerson Lake & Palmer) I have, as stand alone’s: 1, Tarkus; mp3: Trilogy, Pictures at an Exhibition, Brain Salad Surgery, Welcome Back My Friends, Works. Though by the time they got to Works I was bored with them & only kept certain tracks from Works. But up to then they could do real wrong.

Emerson’s keyboard work was always amazing, at least to me on LSD. Like so many of the prog bands of the time the lyrics became portentous & muddled. But the sonics were engaging, elevating and sometimes daring. Emerson did slip into this honky-tonk musical-hall style at time which I found distracting but he wanted to show range. His work with Bowie is excellent.

They successfully incorporated classical into rock in a way no other band did without sounding bloated or forced. The live Pictures at an Exhibition is great fun & a great introduction to Mussorgsky. I like having Brain Salad as a single piece – as opposed to the lp where one had to turn it over half-way through.

Mixed in are: Arthur Brown: Strange – the title is right – experimental & quite unlike his Crazy World lp. Another of the prime prog rock groups King Crimson: Starless & Bible Black – wow – they are more austere in their sound than ELP, epic & challenging. (More about them when I get to K) Finally Tomita’s Firebird – prog without the rock – an electronic pioneer whose work sometimes fell on the cheesy side but well worth having & hearing. 


Mike didn’t want to be seen but knew if he pulled back too far between the two houses he wouldn’t be able to hear.

The woman who approached Robert was tall and thin. The red and green African print shift she wore was shapeless but as the breeze played it pulled it around her frame – the loose collar undulated as she strode beside Robert.

‘You cannot do this.’ Her rapid short words flicked at Robert. Her eyes narrowed as she slashed at him in a mix of French and Spanish so rapid that Mike couldn’t follow even if he could understand it.

Robert stopped and put his right hand on her shoulder.

‘Sister Coppah do not go on like this.’ Robert made a small gesture with his left hand over her face. Her eyes widened and she stepped back.

‘You cannot do this to your people. Remember. You have been warned.’

Robert walked away from her and went up the steps to the hotel.

The woman glared across the street. Mike pulled deeper into the shadow between the houses . She couldn’t have seen him but he felt the heat of her look play on his forehead. Drops of sweat quivered on his eyebrows, the tip of his nose. No she couldn’t have seen him. Even if she did who was he to her. No one.

The woman stood several minutes. She glanced at the hotel door as if her looks could draw Robert out to the street.

Mike’s neck ached. He had to move, get out into the open air. The sun was brighter where he was cowering. He stretched fully upright took a deep breath and walked out into the street. He brushed the back of his pants in case there was dirt from the house he had leaned against.

She didn’t turn away from the door as he crossed.

He went up the steps of the hotel. As he opened the door he glanced back. She was gone.

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