Madonna


In my modest Madonna collection I have, as mp3: Like A Virgin, The Immaculate Collection, Music & as a stand-alone Confessions From The Dance Floor. So it is clear I’m not a fan – fans have everything, fanatics have everything plus the remixes, the outtakes, the concerts, the artfully torn t-shirt & the aluminum Sex.

Is she musically creative? Does it matter when you have such great collaborators, producers, costume designers, stylists & video directors? She admits she is a product, package & a boss lady. To me she was more a provocateur than a visionary. Like Mae West she used sexuality to establish her self, unlike Mae Madonna didn’t rely on a single persona to keep her career moving.

I love some of her songs, hate some of them – Vogue was one I hated & would leave a club (when I went to clubs) when it was played – I just knew we would get the 45 minute remix. Same with Papa Don’t Preach. Some I couldn’t resist: Lucky Star, Like A Prayer.

She sampled, borrowed, adopted, adapted freely from most pop genres with varying degrees of success. Her electronica didn’t work for but her retro disco, Dancefloor, cd was great. The Immaculate Collection of her hits is probably enough nostalgia for anyone; Material Girl is solid pop & in its way, is a landmark album of promotion power. I did have her ‘Sex’ but lacked

the sexy spunk of Mae West. 

 

Gambit 

I heard later than two guys were arrested for the beating. Jim Donaldson and Victor Hanson. Both almost twenty, so not guys we knew at all. My father called them trouble makers and wasn’t surprised they were the ones behind this. Seems they heard Mr. Razov had money hidden his house and broke in to get it and when he caught them they beat the crap out of him and left him for dead in his own house. Some kids have no respect for anything these days. My dad liked to ride that one whenever he had a chance to remind me to watch my step and show proper respect.

Midterm exams were coming up, so we all sort of forget about Mr Mr. Razov. He did recover from the beating but walked with a weird shy turn of the head whenever we guys saw him in the street. He never did come back to tutor the chess club. I don’t even know what happened to the guys who beat him up. 

Fifteen years later and I’m visiting my folks for a few weeks in the summer. University out of the way and I have a decent job in the movie biz. Lightning and that sort of thing. Pays well when it pays. I’d just broken off with Kevin. He was sweet but we both saw it wasn’t working out. So a few weeks out of all that was appealing to me.

Sitting at the table in the kitchen that had changed every time I saw it – new cupboards one year, new appliances another – it was not the repository of any childhood memories. My favorite cereal bowl wa along gone. This summer they were having the pluming redone to install a dish washer and so there’d be new counters et al. 

My Mom brought me a cup of tea. “I suppose you heard Mr. Mr. Razov finally passed away. Poor man. He was never the same after that time. You remember him?”

“When did he die?”

“Just last week. Service early next week. They’re waiting till his family could be here.”

I vaguely recalled that when he deflected he’d left behind some family. 

“Wife?” I asked.

“Nope. A son. It’s all in the newspapers out in the front porch.”

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

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M. M. M.

Let’s step back to the 90’s with Britain’s M People. I have as stand-alone their elegant slumming & Bizarre Fruit & their Best of tucked away in an mp3 collection. I loved hearing & dancing to them in the disco. Their sound was soulful, propulsive, & romantic. I love Heather Small’s voice. When I hear some of these songs I get a sweet feeling of nostalgia but with no actual memory of person or place attached. Their cover of Itchycoo Park is a masterpiece of a masterpiece 🙂

Celso Machado is a Brazilian musician living in, of all places, British Columbia. I have his Varel as a stand-alone cd. Folky with touches of latin jazz this is a fine introduction to world music. Pleasant voice, great guitar sound. One track he shows off bird imitations on various instruments. Sexy music too.

For a time in the mid-90’s I vacationed in Montreal for a week or so in July thanks friends who moved her from there & went back to renew their accents. I developed a fondness for French pop, some of which was Québecois, some of which was out of France. My friends could tell the difference whereas I couldn’t, nor did it matter that much.

There was a separate PQ Much Music at the time, when Much actually played videos. I saw a track by Madam. I have their Eldorado, Weke & Ce Beau Pays.These are all fine pop/rock work. Great vocals, stinging guitar, some political commentary & in general fun. Part of the purpose was to improve my French, which never did happen, c’est la vie, but I enjoy have a nice slice of this music in my collection. 

Keep On Dancin’

This mp3 collection is a disco memory trip starting with Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real (Expanded Edition). She had a couple of hits in the early 80’s: Star Love & Got To Be Real – that burned up the dance floor & take me back to my early years in Toronto. This expanded edition includes the full length dj dance mixes.

Another group that burned up the dance floor Sister Sledge: We are Family – their anthem that became a an lgbtq anthem too, along with Lost in Music, He’s The Greatest Dancer. These are the things that disco celebrated: community & dance. So it wasn’t considered ‘real’ deep music. I’m glad I’m shallow to enjoy it 🙂 Best of Disco is a fun collection of covers, remixes of song by Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor etc. High BPM for high energy & great for typing to 🙂 Mixes done just for this collection so they are different from the lp versions. Songs one never knew they had recorded.

Carrie Lucas: Greatest Hits – Carrie had one hit I remember ‘I Gotta Keep Dancin’. But this is a nice collection all the same of well-produced material. As is Roger: The Many Facets of Roger. I never heard of this guy until someone posted his 10 min version of I Heard It Through the Grapevine on Tumblr – I can’t resist listenable obscurity. Nice voice, nice production but, let’s face it, very few men could compete with those female disco divas.

Dynasty: The Best Of. I love best of’s by groups I never heard of & whose hits I’ve never heard either. Another Tumblr find this is a solid disco soul band in the Instant Funk, Gary’s Gang mode but never had a real catchy dance-floor hit. Here too are a couple of 12” classics by Bohannon – he’s one of the legendary disco performers/producers who infused many from Talking Heads to Lady Gaga. Keep on Dancin’ 

Text Me

My cell pinged – text message ‘lv u’ I smiled. Kept on my way. The message was from B. I was in the elevator going down from his place. I thought it was sweet. He couldn’t wait five minutes to get in touch with me.

My cell pinged again. Another text message ‘c u ltr.’

I wasn’t a text maniac. I didn’t know what to text back so I sent a smily face. Hoped none of the other people on the elevator had noticed. They hadn’t. They were all too busy texting to pay attention to me. 

My cell pinged as I was stepping off the elevator. I didn’t want to check while I was walking. I found that sort of thing slowed me down. 

It pinged again and again,

I ignored it until I was in line at the coffee shop. They were all from B so I erased them all. sweet nothings.

I usually sent one reply to his ten messages.

There was yet another ping as I left the coffeeshop.

As I checked it I bumped into someone. It was B. He turned away from me embarrassed.

“Hey. You can talk to me face to face.’

“Uh, yeah.” He was thumbing something into his cell. 

Mine pinged. ‘nc 2 rn in2 u.’

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

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Lunch

 

I’ve seen Lydia Lunch perform a few times. Daring edgy, funny, vulgar & fun. She heads an mp3 collection that includes her Queen of Siam; Dagger & Guitar; & Big Sexy Noise. Also here are Flying Lizards 1, Top 10; Moondog 1, 2; Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak.

 

I’m not sure if heard her perform before I heard Queen of Siam. The music is a mix of retro beatnik, a touch of big band, surf music & spoke word. She doesn’t exactly sing & her spoken style is a slightly detached almost indifference to the words themselves, captivating. but it is all good. I’m always happy to hear this Queen. The other two I have are good & more of the same with the same beatnik vibe. I say beatnik to separate her from the flower power hippy 60’s/70’s.

The same is true for Laurie Anderson. Laurie has more pop in her songs than Lydia, even dueting with Peter Gabriel. The music is experimental yet easy listening at the same time. Not aggressive musically but intellectually stimulating. Laurie presents sharp emotional commentary in a sweet deceptive wrap. Similar to Lydia she is more of a spoken word performer than a singer. Multi-tracking & loop songs wash over you. Serious, humorous but not campy.

Flying Lizards on the other hand are deadpan campy fun. The offer “bent interpretations of pop music constructs.” I loved their deconstruction of Summertime Blues & the album is a delight . Top Ten continues with astonishing demolitions of classic such as Get Up (I Feel like Being A) Sex Machine. These guys fill me with delight.

To round this collection of I added two by Moondog. This is a true beatnik musical rebel. Jazz? certainly not pop. 1 is experimental, unpredictable & avant-garde. 2 is a set of madrigal rounds. He realized a number of recordings in he mid50’s, drawback & returned when Big Bother & The Holding Company did a recording of one of his songs & he started writing & recording again. A true pioneer, iconoclast who influenced Lunch, Anderson, Bjork (to name a few) I should be part of your musical education.

The Milky Way

My bother wanted us to get out of the car. He’d never seen a cow before. Neither had I but I had no interest in seeing a cow. We were on one of my Dad’s Sunday adventure drives. He’d hop in the car with us kids – me the oldest, my bother then our two little sister. Then drive without a goal. 

There were some places we’d see at least once a month. Places our Dad knew we’d like. But at least once a month we’d have no idea where he was taking us.

This time he’d suddenly turned off the highway – nice and smooth paved – onto a dirt road. Gravel pecking at the underside of the car.

Empty fields then forest clumps more empty fields. Up hills then down. A puddle from recent rain at the bottom of this last hill where we made the biggest splash I’d ever seen.

My sisters screamed with glee and fear as my bother shouted. “We’re going down down down. We’re going to drown drown drown.”

We didn’t drown but the bottom of the car scraped something with an ugly grind. At the level end of this lane Dad got out to look underneath.

“Looks fine. Nothing leaking.”

That’s when the cows came over. Only four of them. not in a hurry but slowly they came over to the fnece as we got back int he car. dad started off again and the cows seemed to follow us along the fence as my dad drove slowly. My bother wanted to stop.

So we stopped. Me and my brother got out and stepped over to the cows.

Their gigantic headed drooling as they nodded down to us. The smell of dung was over powering. 

“They stink.” My brother laughed. “They smell worse that you girls.”

My sisters got out of the car. Their eyes bigger than cow eyes. Each of them had half an apple that our mother had cut for a snack later.

One held it up to the nearest cow. Big pink tongue licked out of the saliva for the apples and both my sisters screamed and ran back to the car.

We boys got back in. 

“What did you think was going to happen.” I asked. 

“They don’t have hands to take food from you.”

One sister was wiping her hand on a towel. Smelling it and wiping it some more.

“Now you know where milk comes from.” My dad said as we eased back on the road.

“Milk?” My sister turned pale. She was never fond of milk after that.
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Ravel, Tartini and Bach

Next on the classical shelf is a nearly 8 hour mp3 collection of work by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), Giuseppe Tartini (1692 –1770) & soprano Amelita Galli-Curci (1882 –1963).

Ravel is best know for his Bolero & perhaps his Pavane for A Dead Princess But he did actually write more than that :-). His string quartet is often paired with Debussy’s string quartet which reflects the impressionist style that Ravel wrote in. I have the Bolero & Pavane in other collections. In this one I have the complete solo piano music & his piano Concertos, which includes the concerto for left hand written for a concert pianist who lost his right hand in the war.

The Bolero unwittingly set the template for much popular music. It starts with a single instrument & every 8 bars or so adds another layer or beat – which is how many jazz, pop arrangements are constructed. It’s almost mathematic in the progression & variations. Sadly Bolero itself is a piece of music I don’t care every to hear again though. The Pavane is elegant & so relaxing it frequently shows up in collections of the most relaxing music ever.

The solo piano is similar to Debussy but a bit more mathematical as opposed to impressionist. Dreamy, relaxing. I love the sonatas. The String Quartet is surprisingly sensuous as the strings wrap around each other & you.

I had one of Tartini’s violin concertos as lp to cd transfer but wanted a better quality, so picked up the Complete Violin concertos. Best known for the Devil’s Trill, these are great Baroque pieces full of trills &, I’ve been told, virtuoso challenges for violinists.

Also in this collection is Leopold Stokowski’s Bach Transcriptions which includes the Toccata & Fugue. The orchestral sound is lush, soothing & even spiritual at times. I love the toccata & this is one my favourite versions. Stokowski turns Baroque Bach into orchestral Beethoven. Stokowski is best known for his work on Walt Disney’s Fantasia – which is a movie that introduced many generations to the power of classical music & his orchestrations are the key to the success of the movie.

Finally in this collection is Amelita Galli-Curci. She was one of the most popular operatic singers of the 20th century. I’m not a big opera fan but this set of 1917-1928 recordings is one way of stretching my ears to music I’m not that familiar with. The sound quality is okay, as it is often is with these period recordings. I’m happy with these but don’t ask me to decide who is better her or Maria Callas 🙂

Ink

“Get your lazy ass over here! You hear me. Get that lazy ass of yours over here pronto!” Jen hung up the phone satisfied she had done all she had to do. 

It wouldn’t be her fault if Jim didn’t get there on time. No one could find fault with her. Unless it was because she had made the call. It wasn’t up to her to be anyone’s alarm clock but she didn’t want to see Jim get fired. 

Jim was told if he was late one more time that would be it. She didn’t really like Jim but was used to him. She didn’t want to have to learn how to put up with some other jerk off.

She went to the customer washroom. There was still time to check to make sure she looked okay. Her hair was not too wild but not too tame either. Her lip ring was healing. The redness gone. It didn’t distract too much from the eyebrow piercing or the shock of pink she’d had put in her hair for the week. Something  to change appearances around a little. The customers liked variation. Jim felt consistency was reassuring. He didn’t like change.

She could tell by the way his eyes sort of narrowed looking for a safe place on her face to look at. There were no safe places.

She glanced at her wrist watch. Hello Kitty’s face looked so snug strapped in the middle of her full sleeve, roses & koi tattoos. Expensive but not nearly as painful as the she had expected. Both arms. A girl never had to worry about what to wear with these. She held both arms out in front of her, turned them to enjoy the wrapping and overlapping vines, castles stars & comets that danced along and over her shoulders down her back. Sweet. Sweet Sweet. What would she get done next.

Jen went to the front of the shop. She didn’t want to open up till someone else was there. The design books were laid out, a sketched pad was by her station & she began working on the pirate ship she knew would look good on Jim. 

Yes today was the day he would get his lazy ass inked once and for all.
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Low Roar Faker

Coldplay opened the door for an endless series of introspective, soaring, soft-rock, shoe-gazer uplifting bands from everywhere. The sound is similar in the way the singer is miked & the music is engineered. Sweet, sometimes jangly guitars, touches of synth, burbles of electronica, strings & sensitive yearning lyrics.

From Iceland comes Low Roar. I have the self-titled Low Roar & 0 – I’m not sure if it is O or 0 though. Not that it matters. It is dreamy, shoe-gazer, electro folk. Relaxing. Out of Australia comes Chet Faker: Built On Glass. More of the same musically with perhaps a bit more energy & humour. Which is what one would expect with a name that parodies Chet Baker. I was hoping for some jazz in this Glass but there was none. From the UK comes Bear’s Den with Islands. Blindfold test & I cannot tell one from the other 🙂

Even before the emotive cool of Coldplay there was Brian Ferry. Perhaps more relaxed but a clear inspiration for many of these bands. In this mp3 compilation I have Avonmore. Gentle, soaring & sort of a sequel to his Avalon. No matter what he does it always sound like Roxy Music. No matter what Cold Play does it sounds like Cold Play.

To balance all this gentle pop I added Germany’s Einsturzende Neubauten: Ende neu Kleff. Electronica & homemade instruments this is a punchier version of Kraftwerk. One of their videos had been posted to Tumblr – it was hypnotic, propulsive & right up my ear alley. One lps was enough to satisfy & this is wild music but not too aggressive to listen to.

The same holds true for Underwater Noises. This is a globe hopping compilation of electronica all with some water element in the mix. I may have found this free on the Internet Archives site or perhaps Bandcamp. Finally is the soundtrack from Beasts of the Southern Wild. Evocative, comes rocking with Bayou funk this is a great soundtrack for a great movie.

(a piece from May 2007)

Sense of Absence

you’ve heard of phantom limb syndrome

well, I suffered phantom pubes

when I had them shaved for surgery

I didn’t realize how I relied on them

till they were gone

there was a constant sense of absence

as they grew back

reaching down in the morning

for a comforting little scratch

with no welcoming thatch of hair

for my fingers to work though

 

not that having them shaved

was much of a thing either

before it happened 

I had some worry about being aroused

an erotic shaving panorama

warm sudsy water

frothy white almond lather 

vanilla peppery smell

on the tip of an ultra soft brush

careful caressed on

hone stropped sharp blade

sliding through the soap

to leave me smooth as a baby

flesh tingling

 

it wasn’t a bit like that

a shoulder nudge at 5:30 a.m. 

‘here to shave you’

female was all I could tell

with light hitting my eyes

a spray bottle

like window cleaner

two cool antiseptic squirts

scrape scrape scrape

less than a minute

‘wipe off at the sink’

back in the bed 

a glance down

gone gone

my crowning glory gone

 

it lead me to wonder 

the why of pubic hair

certainly not ornamental

it can’t be one of those hormonal triggers

you know how girls 

flick their hair 

a come hither gesture

that is never done with pubes

not even in private

they don’t offer much

protective cover in case of emergency

they can be hard to get out of 

the teeth of a zipper

or of someone giving you a close inspection

 

phantom pubes

I could feel them

even when they weren’t there 

but at least that’s all that was removed
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Lena Nina and Kate

This is a mp3 collection that takes me back to when I moved to Toronto way back in 1978. There were real record stores in those days. Starting with Sam’s. There was also a resurgence of pop out of punk & away from the smoothness of groups like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac. One was Lena Lovich with her militaristic Russian image. I loved & have Stateless, Flex. Both great restless albums that hold up today. Excellent production & propulsive songs. She has a fine voice too.

Even more propulsive is Nina Hagen. A brilliant, fearless dynamic performer. I remember the thrill the first time I heard her TV Glotzer (not in this collection). Here I have  Fearless, Ekstase, Irgendwo Auf Der Welt. Fearless is her lp with Gorgio Moroder. I love I Love Paul. Her New York New York is astonishing. Ekstase is the German version of her Ecstasy lp. Der Welt is a later work, also in German, that is full of her operatic, funky punk. I’ve seen her live a couple of times too. Once at Larry’s Head Space here in Toronto.

Nina’s work went through many changes as well from the proto-power-pop-funk-punk with brash sexuality she moved into a more spiritual & less musically aggressive sound. Tucked away in other collections I have some of her almost Zen explorations. Check out her album of tangos.

Finally on this cd is Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside, Never Forever & The Dreaming. Sonically stunning music & ethereal songs full of longing, mystic visions & at times fun 🙂 She influenced generations of singer-songwriters (Sarah McLauhgin, Enya). The first became a teenage girl romantic beacon with songs like Withering Heights; the second steps up her pop reach with Babooska, I love ‘Delius.’ Dreaming aurally has comic moments & the rhythm attack breaks the Enya aura.

Sixteen

He was sixteen. Drunk. Not shit-faced drunk though, more like puppet-drunk, mobile but not in full control of his arms and legs. 

The conversation went around the same few phrases ‘What’s been going on with you?’ ‘How you keeping?’ “What’s up?’ and then moping about school, family life.

I’m far from sixteen. Could be his dad. I’m not drunk. I have full control of my arms and legs. I know what I’m saying and am tired of answering the same questions. Don’t want to ask him about school, family life. All that is going on is that he was looking forward to getting drunk again. 

His mother doesn’t mind. I’m not sure if she approves but do know enough not to be too vocal about her disapproval. She know’s what’s up.

His face looms closer to mine. His right hand keeps patting me on the shoulder, on the leg; almost inviting me to do the same. 

I resist. 

He’s only sixteen. I remeber me as sixteen wanting that man-to-man comfort and with no opportunity to get it. Here he had his opportunity and I was afraid of proving it.

“What’s up? What are you thinking.” He asks.

“I was wondering how to expect to get home in this condition.”

Taxi is going to happen. taxi. Got taxi money. Gotta think ahead.” He tapped his temple with the beer bottle. “What’s going on with you?”

“Not much.” I reply. 

“Or I could crash at your place.”

“That’s not going to happen.” I wasn’t sure on the legal ramifications of underage drinking in the company of old queers. At least here we weren’t alone. Lots of people were at the party who know me, know him, know his mother, in fact she might even be here.

“Is your mother here?” This could be my easy out.

“Yeah she and Bill dickhead are around somewhere. She’ll drive me home. Save me taxi money. I’m getting another. Can I get you something?” 

When he pushed himself up from the couch easily, he’s not as drunk as I thought he was. 

“I’m mean to drink.” He laughed.

“Nope, I’m fine for now.” 

One of us had to stay sober.https://www.facebook.com/events/271762040530703/
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Love Sculpture Blues

 

What! Not another mp3 collection of obscurities covering several genres, decades & styles! 🙂 This one is filed under L for Love Sculpture. I have Blues Helping, Forms & Feelings. A Welsh blues band with unexpected progrock flash. Their take on Sabre Dance came up in my tumblr feed a few years ago. A fast metal version of the classical war horse that was great fun. So I did a quick search & downloaded their two lps. The Brits loved US blues & this is okay stuff – not John Mayall but okay.

Mayall wrote a couple of tributes to J.B. Lenoir, Here I have Lenoir’s Top 50 Classics. This is 50’s blues by a performer who died young but left a real legacy of music that influenced many. A deft guitar player his song cover all the bases: broken heart, political protest & voodoo boogie.

One Christmas I was given Legends of the Blues: A Robert Crumb illustrated book that included a great sampler cd of some of the artists (i.e. Bukka White, Big Joe Williams) discussed. The book is an excellent guide to the legends. A couple of which I sought out & so on this cd I have Blind Joe Reynolds: Outside Woman Blues – period recordings nicely preserved. & Henry Thomas: Texas Worried Blues. There is a fun frank sexual content to many of these tracks. Lines like ‘always going through somebody’s drawers.’ Coy smutty & direct at the same time.

Even more coy but not bluesy is Ivor Novello. I have the The Ultimate Collection. Nice period recordings of British music hall songs – some sentimental, some suggestive & all charming. Novello was the Elton John of his day (one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century) – smartly dressed, campy & talented.  To complete the circle started with Love Sculpture he was also Welsh.

It as another day to drag my ass to school. Drag Drag Drag would echo in my head as I forced myself out of bed. I had done my homework. I always did but didn’t remember a word of it. I could recite the lyrics to every Dylan song mind you but couldn’t recall the periodic table or even what it was I was supposed to be memorizing. Maybe it trig formulas  or the dates of historic moments. When was the Treaty of Utrecht signed. That has always plagued me. Lost so many jobs and ruined so many relationships when I didn’t have the answer to that one simple question. when was the Treaty of Utrecht signed. A question that I knew was bound to come up sooner or later and ruin everything as I drag drag drag my ass though life.

 


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More Than Love

A couple of one-hit-wonders songs from my highschool days have stuck with me. One is Seven and Seven Is by Love. It made me a fan but on the east coast finding their lps other than daCapo was all but impossible. In my collection I now have, as mp3s their First, daCapo, Four Sail, Forever Changes Concert, False Start (w/Hendrix) & Arthur Lee’s solo Vindicator; as stand alones: Forever Changes, Out Here.

Some I did have as lp but upgraded to mp3. daCapo is an amazing work, though Forever Changes is now revered at a modern classic. daCapo features Seven and Seven Is, plus Revelations – a nearly 18 minute track. The other songs are excellent pop too & the sound quality is excellent. They were on Elektra & were quickly eclipsed by The Doors. The record company put their push behind the easier to market Jim Morrison.

Each of Love’s albums is quite different – the first is garage rock pop; daCapo is more pop but with a Rolling Stones vibe; Four Sail has a Neil Young vibe; Forever Changes has a bit of an Astra Weeks feel. The live concert is sweet. Out Here is a cd I found here in Toronto & is good rock, pop. Arthur Lee is fascinating – a black, non-soul musician who had an uphill battle for recognition. Time for a bio pic of Arthur Lee.

Also on the mp3 collections are (naturally) The Lovin’ Spoonful: Daydream, Singles, Hums. I loved loved this band. The singles are classic radio pop, the lps add a nice mix of jug band & blues to their sound. This is music that makes me happy. Another 60’s classic is Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant. The long title track made his reputation. The other songs are decent folky rock. For Brit balance I added Dave Mason’s Alone Together: British folksy rock from a sometimes member of Traffic.

The 2nd mp3 collection includes Canada’s The Collectors: First, Grass & Wild Strawberries – psychedelic band out of B.C. that still holds up today. I did mention earlier Count Five, so I added Rarities that includes a radio mix of Psychotic Reaction plus loads of other very garage band stuff. You might remember The Fool more for their trippy art work & clothes than for their Psychedelic Folk Essentials – very Incredible Stringband.

Wait there’s more! The obscure but enjoyable Erik: Look Where I Am – mild Moody Blues; Joey Scarbury: America’s Greatest Hero – a one-hit TV theme wonder, nice mild country rock songs. Someone posted a YouTube video of another obscure band: Wool: Wool – fun rock. I get to relive so many radio memories with Lou Christie’s Lightening Strikes: a hits compilation. The Gypsy Cried. Time for a bio pic of Lou Christie.

Finally is Donovan: Shadows of Blue -the most recent of all the music on these compilations. Yes he’s still alive, still recording & making okay music. Not the hippy dippy lyrics or the mystic feel of his early works – more of a comfortable country feel but his voice is recognizable.

Spring Gardening Tips

this is what I thought – he doesn’t care. I know it’s hard to see now why I thought that but that is what I thought – he doesn’t care – maybe it was because I didn’t really care myself. not many did actually but I didn’t want to admit it then. it was important that one appeared to care, right, so I was all about keeping up appearances. he wasn’t. even then it was clear he didn’t care. didn’t give a rat’s ass for anything. not even himself. I felt like my mother who planted a garden every summer regardless of badly it turned out.

my mother was working in the back yard. every spring she planted a garden. she was like that, hope would infuse her once the snow was gone and she would be on her knees digging in the dirt planting things for future generations. things that sort of grew then withered. she never found the right seeds. planting things that needed lots of sun in the darkest part of the the yard. things that liked it dry were always too close to the rain pipe. her intentions were good but her results were always dispiriting. she would sit on the back step smoking cigarette after cigarette as if some sort of tobacco ceremony was all that was needed to get the plants to grow like they did on the packages. I doubt if the cigarette ash was of much help.

the plants didn’t give a rat’s ass for her hopes, intentions, all they wanted the right soil. he wasn’t my right soil.


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Quantz Rachmaninov

 

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697 -1773) Flute Sonatas. Next are two cds of lp transfers of MHS albums. Quantz inspired both Bach & Mozart so I guess this count as back-to-the-roots music. The sonatas are for for various combinations – 1, 2 or 3 flutes. plus stand-alone Works for Baroque Traverse flute The solo flute pieces aren’t really solo but have a cello or harpsichord continuo to pillow the sound. All are dainty, charming, playful & relaxing. Rarely emotional.

Which is not the case with Sergei Rachmaninov. (1873 –1943). I have a pair of 2cd sets in with his Piano Concertos; the other with his Preludes. These are romantic masterpieces that are at times over-the-top melodrama. So dramatic that some pieces frequently turn up in in movies, cartoons almost as parodies of themselves. His music has inspired endless, uncountable movie soundtracks – when you hear a piano cadenza with stirring strings you can ‘blame’ Rachmaninov.

One of the things that often happens when I’m writing about these albums I get the urge for more. What can I say, plus the current covid19 crisis lock down, I needed a little diversion so I checked Rachmaninov on iTunes to see if there was something I could add, I was not disappointed & now I have Rachmaninov: The Complete Recordings – performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haitink & Concertgebouworkest. over 13 hours of music in 205 tracks. I’d say this is enough 🙂 I have listened to all & am quite pleased with it. His range is a little wider than I expected with some rather expressionist pieces. The work for two pianos is a delight.

If you want mood music for writing a Harlequin love story this is perfect. The influence of Liszt & Chopin cannot be denied but Rachmaninoff takes things to a different level of unapologetic sentimentality but never gets as sugary as Tchaikovsky. Needless to say I love Rachmaninoff. Like the other composers I mentioned he is emotionally open. He wears his heart on his sleeve as he pounds the piano not even taking the time to wipe the tears from his eyes.

The Cocktail

The restaurant staff went back to their duties. The other diners went back to their meals. The waiter brought a cocktail and put in front of him

“From the owner. Sorry for the confusion. I’ll be right back to take your order, sir.”

Joe smiled. Once again sticking to his guns had brought him a reward. He was about to take a sip when he was interrupted by a man in the booth behind him.

“Would mind not taking so loudly on your cell phone.” The man snapped.

“I am not taking on my cell phone.” Joe put the drink down. “I haven’t even taken it out of my pocket.”He patted the pocket to demonstrate that fact and realized he had left his cellphone at home.

“You just out it back there. I heard every word of that conversation you had. None of us are interested in your difficulties at work.”

“Here! Here!” Chimed in the older woman. “There should be a law against using those infernal things in public.”

“Agreed, madam. Some people have no shame about what they say and no respect for those us they inflict their obscenity riddled conversations on. I came here for a quite meal.”

Joe shank back into his booth. “I … I don’t have my cell phone here.”

“You calling me a liar?” The gentleman got up from his booth. His whiskered face red and puffed.

“What seems to be the problem.” The waiter materialized. “Oh! You again.”

“This man thinks I’ve been talking on a cell phone, when in fact,” Joe gave a small laugh. “I don’t have one with me.” He turned his coat pocket inside out to show it was empty.

“Harumph.” The bearded man went back to his booth.

“Enjoy your red zipper cocktail. I’ll be right with you to take your order.’

Joe sighed. He sipped his drink. It was a tart, clear, reddish concoction that tasted of strawberries and celery. He found it quite refreshing. It reminded him of his mother. How she would made sandwiches for his lunch at school. She would put unexpected things in them. His revere was broken by a short man bumping his table to get his attention.

“You didn’t flush.” The short man glowered at him.

“Flush?”

“Yes. You went to the bathroom and didn’t flush. I saw you go in.”

“Didn’t flush!” the man in the booth behind him said triumphantly. “I’ll bet he didn’t even wash his hands.”

“You would be right,” the short man continued. “Didn’t flush and left the steaming heap for me to face when I had to go in there.”

“I haven’t left my booth since I got here.” Joe protested. He held his hands out to show how clean there were.

“Your type is what makes going out for a meal such a torment. You know that don’t you. A Goddamned ordeal.” The short man walked away.

“Shame.” the older woman at the near by table smirked at him. “A man your age. I’m not surprised though. Ignorance is bliss. Isn’t it.” She laughed.



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