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Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    yogafriend, my next entry will be on a 10CC song and some general comments on the band.  I loved them dearly.

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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    In Response to Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs):
    yogafriend, my next entry will be on a 10CC song and some general comments on the band.  I loved them dearly.  
    Posted by Hfxsoxnut

    10 CC rulez!

    This song is a masterpiece
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    In Response to Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs):
    In Response to Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs) : 10 CC rulez! This song is a masterpiece
    Posted by jesseyeric

    Yes, it is an amazing song.  Killer lyrics.  

    Woah, the next blog entry will be highly anticipated -- not to build any pressure, mind you.  :D

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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    In Response to Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs):
    In Response to Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs) : Yes, it is an amazing song.  Killer lyrics.   Woah, the next blog entry will be highly anticipated -- not to build any pressure, mind you.  :D
    Posted by yogafriend

    It's going to be a lengthy one.  But I'll have it up by this weekend.  The artificial deadline thing seems to work. 
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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    Interesting reading, HFX. Enjoyed it.

    The Odds are popular with some of my friends above the 39th Parallel. I've heard bits and pieces of them before, but not a lot, so I enjoyed the clip.

    Dwight Yoakim, is also a rocker who can act, as well as sing. I just saw him in a WWII movie,"When Trumpets Fade,"

    Looking forward to your next chapter...
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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    (Part 1 of 2)

    10 CC’s career as a recording entity began in 1972.  The original lineup consisted of Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Kevin Godley and Lol Crème. 
    All the band members had been involved in the music business in various phases going back to the mid-Sixties.  Gouldman at one time was a songwriter-for-hire who penned some of the essential singles of the Sixties, including Heart Full of Soul for the Yardbirds, Bus Stop for the Hollies, and No Milk Today for Herman’s Hermits.  Stewart had been in the Mindbenders, who scored hits with The Game of Love and A Groovy Kind of Love.

    Just before the formation of 10 CC, Stewart, Godley and Crème briefly formed a group called  Hotlegs, recording a single called Neanderthal Man that sold two million copies.

    10CC was an unusual amalgamation of talents.  Gouldman and Stewart had the pop instincts and Godley and Crème were the experimenters.  As a unit, their musical scope was wide and their lyrical content ranged from the subtly clever to the outrageously weird.  It was equal parts Brian Wilson and Frank Zappa.

    I still remember a review I read in Circus magazine of their self-titled debut album.  The reviewer seemed genuinely stunned at what he had heard.  On the surface were sunny voices and choirboy harmonies.  Underneath was madness.  There was The Hospital Song, about an elderly gentleman suffering from incontinence, and Sand in My Face, about a 98-pound weakling plotting his revenge on the musclemen.  There were parodies of early Sixties pop schmaltz, Donna and Johnny Don’t Do It.  The album’s hit single, Rubber Bullets, was about a crackdown on a riot at 'the local county jail'.

    The followup album, Sheet Music, was a stylistic step forward.  The wit and wackiness were still in evidence but the music was richer and more refined.  The album-opening single, Wall Street Shuffle, featured some solidly commercial hooks to go with the cutting satire.  But the rest of the album made little pretext at being commercial in the conventional sense.  If you were going to be onboard with 10CC, you had to be open to some different sounds and some different humor.

    The song I have chosen is Old Wild Men from the Sheet Music album.  This is an eerily prophetic vision of ‘old men of rock and roll’ set to an exquisite melody that borders on bedtime lullaby.  This song features arguably some of the most angelic lead vocals by male singers to ever appear on a pop/rock song.  That’s Eric Stewart, the voice of I’m Not in Love, who sings the first few lines and Lol Crème who comes in next.  The musical backing shows off the band’s electronic wizardry.  Godley and Crème were innovators in the music technology area, and that odd-sounding guitar solo in the middle features a device called the Gizmotron that they invented.
    This is a very cool video montage that was put with the song, with pictures of band members then and now.
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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    Have certainly never heard the 10CC song that you chose, a real ballad and an interesting choice.   Incredible instrumentals.   

    They seem like a prime example of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" in every way you describe.  If a band could surface back then, and make its mark, it had to have had something special to offer, what with the proliferation of not just many bands, but so many outstanding bands (as we've discussed).  I have no idea if 10CC's full catalogue of music is widely known, but it's an eye opener to some of us who only know them for their signature (classic) hits.  
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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    (Part 2) 

    10 CC hit the jackpot with their third album, The Original Soundtrack, headed by the classic single I’m Not in Love.  Some background on the song from Wikipedia:

    The song was originally written around a Bossa Nova beat, but group member Lol Creme suggested slowing the tempo, while another group member, Kevin Godley, suggested replacing the beat with a built-up wall of voices.

    The ethereal sound was created by laboriously building up multiple overdubs of the voices of Stewart, Gouldman
    , Godley and Creme singing a single note in unison. This multi-track was then mixed and dubbed down onto 16-track tape. This process was repeated across all 16 tracks to create a lush 256-voice "virtual" choir that could "sing" chromatic chords.  A number of these prepared multi-tracks were then cut into several endless loops, each of which contained the basic notes of the main chords used in the song. The chorus loops could then be played by using the mixing desk rather like a keyboard -- each chord could be sounded by bringing up the fader for that loop. The instrumental break featured the repeated spoken phrase, "Be quiet, big boys don't cry...", spoken by Kathy Warren, the receptionist of their own Strawberry Studios where the band recorded the track. These whispered lyrics would later serve as the inspiration for the name of the 1980s band, Boys Don't Cry.

    Behind the hit single, 10 CC continued to be their usual offbeat selves.  They offered up a three-part operetta, Une Nuit a Paris, some of which revolves around the scandalous activities at a brothel patronized by the chief of police.  In some quarters, it’s alleged that the song was a major inspiration for Bohemian Rhapsody. The album also featured songs dealing with the problems of religion (The Second Sitting for the Last Supper), drug smuggling (Flying Junk) and Blackmail.

    The Original Soundtrack turned out to be the band’s apex, and the next album, How Dare You?, turned out to be the dividing point.  The music betrayed some creative exhaustion.  The content was as adventurous as ever, but too often just downright weird.

    Godley and Crème split to form their own duo, while Gouldman and Stewart carried on as 10CC with new sidemen.  The debut albums of the newly formed entities showed the clear separation of musical directions.  With Deceptive Bends, the new 10CC had an immediate hit, The Things We Do For Love, and re-established themselves as a radio-worthy pop band.  Meanwhile, Godley and Crème’s took their avant-garde experimentalism to new lengths, opening with a three-disc set concept album called Consequences.  The album, which had a theme about the battle between mankind and the forces of nature, doubled   as a showpiece for the duo's Gizmotron effects device.  There are no reports on how many of the gadgets they sold, but it was used by Jimmy Page for the intros to two songs on In Through the Out Door.

    Godley and Crème turned out a series of creative and commercially challenged albums.  They were intriguing, often hilarious, and sometimes unsettling listening experiences.  In the early Eighties the pair found a second career as music video directors, with their most notable work being the Police’s  Every Breath You Take.  In 1985 they managed a hit single, Cry.  Their final album was Goodbye Blue Sky in 1988. 

    The new 10CC had one more hit single, the reggae-styled Dreadlock Holiday, from the 1978 album Bloody Tourists.  They made several other albums, with the critical consensus being that their last strong album was 10 Out Of 10 in 1981.

    Eric Stewart collaborated with a musician named Paul McCartney on three of the latter’s solo albums.  Stewart co-wrote half the songs on 1986’s Press to Play.

    In 1991, there was a reunion album with the original four, but it proved to be a bad idea and a bust.  Recapturing the old magic was not to be.

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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    Now for a bold and daring change of direction. Instead of just one song per artist I will expand it to include ‘artist spotlights’ of three songs. My shtick will remain the same, as I try to find songs that aren’t quite rarities but that are not heard or mentioned that frequently anymore. Since I’m a classic rock fanatic who's obsessed with the electric guitar, what better place to start than with Jimi Hendrix?

    Hendrix’s third album, and the final album released before his death, was the 1968 double LP, Electric Ladyland. Side Four of the album is one of the killer sides in the history of rock vinyl. It closes with two of Jimi's indelible masterworks, All Along the Watchtower and Voodoo Child (Slight Return). The side opener, Still Raining Still Dreaming, is a warm and funky groove topped with a generous helping of wah-wah licks. In between all this, the second track, House Burning Down, is probably one of Jimi’s underrated gems, overshadowed as it is by the giants standing behind it. It is a heavy anthem in its own right that showcases Hendrix’s gifts as a writer, player and technician. The lyrics deftly play off some earnest social commentary against surreal imagery and wry humor.

    Well I asked my friend, where is that black smoke coming from
    He just coughed and changed the subject and said, I think it might snow some
    So I left him sipping his tea, and I jumped in my chariot and rode off to see
    Just why and who could it be this time

    Sisters and brothers, daddies, mothers standin' around cryin'
    When I reached the scene the flames were makin' a ghostly whine

    The music fits the pictures perfectly. This is a song that was meant to be listened to on the headphones. The wailing guitars conjure images of flames shooting up to the sky and swirling around your brain. 

    One of the albums released after Jimi’s death was 1971’s Rainbow Bridge album. This was the soundtrack of a hippie trippy movie whose only claim to fame was a 20-minute clip of a live set in Hawaii by Hendrix. Most of the album is studio tracks, including The Star Spangled Banner and this other amazing instrumental track called Pali Gap. This song has been lodged in my musical consciousness since the first time I heard it. If you listen closely at the beginning you can hear the sinuous bass riff that comes curling up to underpin the song. The rest is all Jimi, soloing. I may have missed it, but I don’t recall hearing him play like this on any of his other songs. It has a joyful abandon to it, a torrent of notes, feeling, sweet feeling dropping from his fingers. I can picture Jimi playing with that Carlos Santana look of rapture on his face. At times this even sounds a bit like Santana. But it’s Jimi, so it’s even better.

    In 1975, five full years after Hendrix’s death, the Crash Landing album emerged. There was some controversy attached to the album, as it included material performed by hired musicians that was dubbed onto the original Hendrix tracks. The person responsible for the alterations was producer Alan Douglas, who even took a co-writing credit on the title song. This instrumental, Captain Coconut, is a good example of the creative tinkering. It's not a whole song but a patchwork of several parts. It opens with some flamenco guitar flourishes before settling into the main section which sounds mainly like Jimi messing around in the studio. Finally there is a sort of soothing psychedelic fadeout. A lot of this is just fuzz and distortion.  But nobody could make art out of distortion quite as well as Hendrix.

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    Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)

    Robin Trower has often been considered one of the foremost disciples of Jimi Hendrix. He stepped into the same arena of psychedelic blues-rock, armed with the same Fender Stratocaster and the same power trio configuration. But while the influence of Hendrix was obviously strong, Trower has carved out his own path with a unique style and body of work. His songs tend to be tight, rigorously crafted structures. His guitar sound has ample weight and attack, but also a distinctive warmth and softness at the edges. He finds strange, interesting chords. He fuses elements of R & B, soul and funk into the mix (and cites James Brown as one of his biggest influences). 

    Trower was part of Procol Harum for their first five albums. The group’s keyboard-heavy sound put him in a restricted position as guitarist, but when they let him out to play, he made the most of it, lighting up tracks like Whisky Train and Simple Sister.

    When Trower departed to form his own band, he had the great fortune of finding the perfect vocal engine for his design, a Scotsman by the name of James Dewar who was in a band called Stone the Crows. Dewar’s voice was a marvel-smooth, powerful and, most importantly, full of heart and soul.

    The group’s first album, Twice Removed from Yesterday, was well received, but it was only the prelude to the groundbreaking second album, 1974’s Bridge of Sighs. With this masterpiece, Trower ascended to a place among the mightiest of guitar heroes in a decade renowned for them.

    I refer to Bridge of Sighs as a masterpiece with no fear of hyperbole. This is a tour de force, ambitious in scope and inspired in execution.

    While not described as a concept album, it probably qualifies as one. The songs combine to form the narrative of a quest for love in a desolate cosmos.

    The opening song, Day of the Eagle, comes on with an urgency that signals the seriousness of the album’s intentions. Frantic, rapid-fire riffs erupt from the speakers, and words are delivered with matching desperation.

    Saw a light just up ahead
    But I couldn’t seem to rise up from my bed
    I’m not alone, then I am
    ‘Cause people seem to think I’m Superman
    But I watch for the love
    Livin’ in the day of the eagle
    Eagle not the dove

    The song rocks furiously for several minutes before switching to a slow blues groove, with Trower’s guitar wailing over the top, shaping, bending and filling each note with feeling.

    The album closer, Little Bit of Sympathy, has an angry bite that makes it one of Trower’s most recognizably Hendrix-like songs. The ghost of Jimi can be heard in the bell-ringing chords and the fluid, fiery runs. This song also highlights the talents of the able rhythm section of Dewar on bass and Reg Isidore on drums.

    The followup album to Bridge of Sighs, 1975’s For Earth Below was a shift in direction that disappointed many of the newfound fans because of its cooling of the fireworks. This music was slower, bluesier, funkier, and thoroughly saturated with wah-wah licks.

    I was, and still am, an enthusiastic fan of this album, and at the time I thought it was just as good as its predecessor. Looking back, I readily admit that this album doesn’t rise to the same level. I guess I also have to admit that part of the appeal of this album was that it was a stoner classic, an album for listening to while happily, herbally zonked.

    This track, A Tale Untold, epitomizes that aspect of the album. The lyrics are a mystical trip of sun and moon and ships and a ‘lonely siren’. Musically, it is a feast for the ears. It begins with one of those strange and beautiful riffs that are a Trower specialty. Then there is a growly little wah-wah riff played behind the vocal. There are two very pretty, slightly psychedelic solos. For the finishing touch Trower lays down a slow version of the opening riff, accompanied by a sweet stream of notes that wash over you and soothe you into a state of harmonic bliss.

    Robin Trower’s career could never live up to the promise of Bridge of Sighs. But he has carried on like a trooper, recording and touring up to the present day. Along the way, sadly, he lost Dewar, who became another victim of bad habits. Trower did a few albums with Jack Bruce before joining up with another Scotsman, Davey Pattison, for some albums in the Eighties. Pattison is likely the one man on earth who can come close to Dewar’s voice. In 2004 Trower and Pattison reunited for an album called Living Out of Time. In 2005, on Trower’s 60th birthday, a concert album and DVD under the same name were recorded. The concert features four songs from that studio album, but is filled out with songs from his back catalogue, including four from Bridge of Sighs. For those who are unfamiliar with Trower, this DVD would be a worthy introduction. Especially because you get such a closeup look at the guitar master performing his magic on the fretboard.