« If It Ain't Broke.... | Main | Idiosyncrasies »

Sunday, 15 April 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

>>There's a legend that Paul McCartney's original lyrics for "Yesterday" started with "scrambled eggs,"

The way I heard it was, Paul wrote intentionally nonsensical lyrics as temporary words for the melody for "Yesterday," which is pretty common for songwriters. It went, "Scrambled eggs;, Oh my baby how I love your legs; But not as much as scrambled eggs." Wikipedia confirms that story.

Another story behind lyrics: I've heard that the lyrics to the old classic novelty tune "Tea for Two" were original just filler lyrics until better words could be composed. Wikipedia says it may be true, it may be apocryphal.

I enjoy these music discussions. I always find something interesting. I have some M. Ward and Fruit Bat stuff but hadn't heard these. The Zero 7 tune and animation are really nice. Thanks for the heads up.

The first LP in my house that wasn't owned by my parents was Nilsson Schmilsson. It was a birthday gift from Grandma to my older sister. I'm sure the record store guy picked it for Granny because of the cover. It looks like Harry is holding a hash pipe. I was probably ten at the time and I still love that album. I'm not a huge fan of Harry's other stuff but that album is a family classic. Some of Harry's "Nilsson sings Newman" is nice and I really like his cover of "Dayton Ohio - 1903".

Your mention of Leonard Nimoy (Spock-O) made me think of this. I saw this when it aired and I never forgot it.
Fear of Pop / Ben Folds & William Shatner - "In Love" (Live on Conan) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BJ9VouFBK0

A few albums at the top of my CD stack (I know...old school) at the moment are:
Jason Isbell - Southeastern
Jakob Dylan - Seeing Things
Volcano Choir - Repave

Oh, man, Courtney Barnett. She seems to have an endless capacity to write fun songs and yes she's got a great delivery. I just love her just-happy-enough (never quite an eye roll) view of the small details of people and of life. Could you maybe get her to post a thing or two, say, about this crazy creative process stuff, too? Just a few of her odd notions and truths to add to the good mix of your own pretty please thank you very much.

This blog rolls just fine, btw, but she could add to its rock.

Based on the Hurray for the Riff Raff and the M. Ward, I'm going to recommend Calexico, "Feast of Wire" and Thao and the Get Down Stay Down "We the Common," if you haven't already tried them out.


Listen to some of this.

Gregory Alan Isakov

For something completely different, I recommend Pascal Pinon, Icelandic twins who have been putting out albums since they were 15. Folk-pop-art song, there is a ton of their stuff on YouTube, but I'll just give you one link:


Porcupine tree...saw them at rock city in Nottingham 2007ish I think and yes Arriving Somewhere deserves to be heard...partial to a bit of prog...

What no Led Zeppelin! ;) My musical tastes are very close to yours. On top of that I too prefer no vocals. When there are vocals I tend to treat them as just another musical instrument. I can never remember any specific lyrics which can be embarrassing at times. I will have to check out Amazon Prime streaming thing. I had no idea I could do that.

Well, songs with words can be problematic, but some of the best pop, blues and rock music combined great lyrics produced some of the greatest music of the 20th Century. Like you, I have had a passion for jazz from the late '50's. IMO, some of the greatest music this country has ever produced. But it's hard to imagine being without music and lyrics - and I risk approbation for picking just a couple of examples - like the iconic "Hurt" from Johnny Cash: https://youtu.be/vt1Pwfnh5pc. Or Neil Young's "Old Man": https://youtu.be/An2a1_Do_fc. And so many more. Yes, they are hackneyed icons of a past era, but they give great pleasure, at least to me.

A piece in the NYT today, had the following:

"But how about giving up? What about wasting time. Giving up or perhaps giving over. To what? Perhaps what an earlier age called 'the life of the mind,' the phrase that describes the sovereign self at ease, at home in the world. This isn't the mind of rational thought, but the lost music of wondering, the sheer value of looking out the window, letting the world float along. It's nothing, really, this wasted time, which is how it becomes, paradoxically, charged with 'everything,' liberated into the blessed loss of ambition."

To listen to great music, even if we've heard it many times before, is the "wasting time" that I find most wonderful, whether with or without words.

BTW thanks for turning us all on to the dancing of Marquese Scott. The videos of the musician/vocalists - wow how the Leadbelly killed it! - were great, but Scott was all new to me, and a wonder.

The trend for stupid lyrics pre-dates Weezer's Undone-The Sweater Song. I will never forgive my late friend Grant McLennan for the lines:
"I keep seeing you with your boyfriend the actor
Sometimes I want to run over him with a great big tractor"
Particularly considering he was generally so eloquent. Listen to:

RIP 2006


Gee, Mike. I know music. I love music, always have. I even attempt to play it, and sometimes that seems to work. I own hundreds of CDs and LPs and go to about a concert per month. But of all the artists you mentioned, I've never heard hide nor hair of any of 'em, except for Hawkins, Jones, the Beatles and Jeff Beck, and Bach, of course- who together might have made a dynamite combo, don't you think?

This just shows how vast and fragmented the musical universe has become. Only some inhuman machine would have time to listen to every song released, even once. And it makes me wonder if you would know anyone on my current playlists? Warning, there's no '90s grunge on it. I don't know of any Boomer who bonded with that music. You must have been going through a hard time with a teenaged level of angst.

Rather than listing my own fave raves, here's what yanks my chain in general: superb musicianship, authenticity, melody and originality. Certainly reflected in my last three concerts attended: International Guitar Night, with four virtuoso players ganging from classical through Gypsy Jazz to New age; Mr. Sun, a new acoustic progressive jazz-grass quartet, and the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, a modern touring 18-piece big band that was alternately the most mellow and the hardest-driving band I've ever heard.

If you were fishing for suggestions, try one of those...

AC/DC : Let there be rock

According to my 'bluffers guide to music', a true Bach addict is best dealt with by feigning illness or pretending the babysitter needs to go home. I was afraid you might be recommending the Art of Fugue or some such! bravo. Try the Vivaldi concerto transcriptions for organ.

Coleman Hawkins: should be "Today and Now" ;-)

Double yes to Courtney Barnett, and when she performs with Kurt Vile it is like Richard and Mimi Farina gone digital.

I have recently awarded myself a lifetime achievement award and purchased the stereo of my dreams. In order to audition the sound and flex the system's muscle, I've been looking for music that is both well-produced and something I enjoy.

Part of the system includes a box that rips CDs in FLAC mode and then serves as the playback module (Bluesound Vault 2). So I'm actually buying CDs again after years of iTunes downloads.

A few standouts: Either of the first two Dire Straights albums, almost anything by Diana Krall, and Art Pepper. Sweet! And one more thing, Tidal streaming service is a true pleasure. I vowed never to subscribe to anything ever again but this service is addictive and of very high quality.

In spite of my previously curmudgeonly belief that today's music isn't anywhere near as good as MY generations' music, I'm discovering just how wrong that theory is. Lots of talent out there being delivered in new ways.

"It's possible for someone to love music and not like a single thing I've mentioned in this post"

Yep, that's me!

Those dance clips made my day. Untouched music, and what seems like unmodified clips, and they all flow together at a unbroken rythm. How do they do that?

Sheesh! I come back to TOP after a very busy weekend to find that Mr. J has dropped three posts that I feel compelled to comment upon. Not that the world, or even my world, would stop spinning if I do not.
I am amazed that in the above list of singers, songs, albums, etc., I recognize NONE. Now, I'm a wee bit older than you, Mike, since when you got your first album in '64, I was fresh out of the USAF. But, I have a reputation among my family and friends for being into some really weird sounds. I tend to play classical music at rock concert levels. I acquired several of the Roots CD's before they became Jimmy Fallon's house band, causing some raised eyebrows from my son and daughter, who wondered how this old white guy with a blue collar background could possibly dig rap.

My first acquisition of records was a gift of sorts, from my uncle's bar, a couple of beer bottle cardboard boxes of 78's that had been played to death in the bar's jukebox. Yes, heavy shellac 78's, re-grooved by that lathe-like structure that somehow managed to both track the grooves and play plausible music. I wish I had a few of those many 78's today, the very unique ones. Frank Sinatra singing in Polish! Polish comedy records, in accented English except in Polish for the raunchy parts. Ruth Wallis's 1949 "Loretta's a Sweater Girl Now."

Folk music festivals are a good source for new sounds. The name is a misnomer. While there may be performers who strive for folk "authenticity," these events are breakout opportunities for young wannabe's, singer-songwriters, as well as a way to see established performers. (Arlo Guthrie, Graham Nash, and the like). It was the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival that made me aware of Ani Difranco.

For unique, this band on the folk circuit should serve as a prime example:

Try the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, SE of Albany. Hotels/motels nearby tend to sell out quickly. Unless you're into camping, which I am not. Good lineup this year, but I'm going to miss it:
What I like about Falcon Ridge is that the performers and the audience are not separated. You could be at a food stand, and find yourself standing next to Dar Williams, buying her favorite kale wrap.

My wife just bought early bird all-festival tickets for this year's Philadelphia Folk Festival (57th annual). Note: NOT in Philly, and not only folk. It's held on a farmer's field in Upper Salford township; nearest town of any note is Schwenksville. We live about 20 minutes away. Their lineup was announced this morning. It includes one of my wife's favorite bands, The Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

Arlo Guthrie has appeared here many times, btw.
(If you decide you need a break from your gorgeous Keuka environment, and want to try the PFF, let me know. The grounds are sprawling, and a knowledgeable guide can help reduce the feeling of overwhelm.)

Ah, MacArthur Park. One of many songs that thrilled 10th-grade band musicians in (strictly) instrumental form. It survives even the scattered intonation of an adolescent marching band, but just don’t sing the freakin’ words.

My current infatuation is a new pile of Renaissance wind music that has come the way of the brass quintet in which I play. But it is more demanding of accurate pitch, alas.

Right now I'm completely hooked on Sufjan Stevens' "Mystery of Love", a haunting song from the soundtrack of the "Call Me By Your Name" movie, but I've also come across a band called FFS, which is the result of the awkward collaborations between Scottish indie band Franz Ferdinand and none others than the Mael bros., a. k. a. Sparks (hence "FFS").
Another recent discovery that surprised even myself (as ecletic as I believe I am) was the music of Josquin des Prez, a French composer from the 16th century. I'm not really into ancient music, but des Prez's music is simply wonderful. Listening to it is a spiritual experience like no other - and I'm an atheist.

Yes Mike, that is indeed "my" published CD. I have to write that in parentheses because it's more than just me - that first piece alone has a guitar player from France, a female singer from the US, and a piano/keyboard player plus me from Germany... and because it's all very loose, and several different versions of most songs exist, it's what they/we call jams. You can join in if you'd like to play...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! That link to Tash Sultana introduced me to an amazing artist.

Wow, that Tash Sultana bedroom recording (with the dog leaving the room at 2:56 or so) - fabulous! Thank you.

Hi Mike. Long time reader here.
If you liked Tash Sultana you may wish to check this 3 song set from NPR's Tiny Desk Concert:


Keep up the good work.


Kendrick Lamar has become the first non-classical, non-jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for music for his 2017 album DAMN.

I haven't listened enough to have a strong opinion. Spotify labels his tracks "explicit."

Hi Mike, really appreciate these music topics. Agree that Porcupine Tree is vastly underappreciated. Their body of work is pretty impressive and exists well outside of the prog rock era.

So I'm driving down the delta looking to snap a black and white I can live with. Out comes Ry Cooder with Ali Farka Toure, after 10 minutes of that you are ready....something to do with brain firing.

Haven't been disappointed yet.

Loved the Tash Sultana Tiny Desk concert. She is awesome and Tiny Desk never fails to please. Tiny Desk has a three song set up by Rhye and the second track "Taste" has a great guitar bit. Jump to the 4:20 mark for the second track. I also found "This is the Kit" on this trip. She's great and I like the horn section dudes.

You never know where you'll find a good tune. I remember being introduced to Nick Drake in 2000 via a VW Cabrio commercial and I first heard the Devlin's on an HBO DVD commercial for their various programming.

Nick Drake - Pink Moon - Cabrio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lSKUL_n6c0
The Devlins - World Outside - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9qIaEsW8G8
Rhye - Taste - Tiny Desk - https://www.npr.org/event/music/600089406/rhye-tiny-desk-concert
This is the Kit - Tiny Desk - https://www.npr.org/event/music/568318255/this-is-the-kit-tiny-desk-concert

Here's one more for good measure that will just tear your heart out. See the lyrics in the "SHOW MORE" section of the video description.
Andy Schauf - Wendell Walker - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7Iv5RwR1G4

When Alice Coltrane's album Ptah the el Daoud was released in 1970 I taped Turiya and Ramakrishna from the radio. I did not hear it for more than 45 years and when I watch this video now I still can remember every note. Strange how the brain works.
Minor flaw: one of the ladies in the video is not Alice, but Juanita Naima Grubbs, John Coltrane's first wife.

Sometime when you feel like hearing some modern music where the lyrics are every bit up to the music, I highly recommend Bruce Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn.) He's a Canadian singer/songwriter of considerable renown in Canada, and with a smaller but loyal fan base elsewhere. An astonishing poet as well as a virtuosic guitarist, a rare combination.

I suggest starting mid-career with records in the stretch of Humans, Inner City Front and Stealing Fire. His band lineups change from project to project, and are always stellar.

His records vary quite a bit from one to the next. For a more "acoustic" vibe, try Dart To The Heart.


The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007