Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" in stereo

Let me tell you, I was prepared to poo poo this reissue (yet again, oh no...), but due to Mark Linnett's superb job as the Boys' archivist and engineer on this go-round, under Brian's watchful supervision, I was pretty much taken aback at the improvement of sound quality. On Let's Go Away For Awhile, for instance, the mix was so tight and taut that it reminded me of a basketball slammed into a hardwood floor! The bloom that track always possessed was left intact, with no digital artifacts, and was truly worth the price of admission.

If the rest of this series is this good, I'll expect to peel off some more bucks in exchange for some more sonic thrills.

Highly recommended.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ritchie Blackmore not to attend RRHOF ceremony

Deep Purple has been fighting an uphill battle for years to get recognized by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for their contribution to rock music, and the news that Ritchie Blackmore won't be attending the ceremony honoring the band (which almost always includes a jam) saddens me tremendously.

This is what I posted on Audio Karma in response:

"So sad.

Steve Morse will never fill The Man's shoes. Nobody in the world plays the guitar so out of bounds (out of mode, abolishing every rule we as musicians cherish) than him, except maybe Frank Zappa when he goes into gnat-note mode.

I appreciate Blackmore's choice of notes much more now than ever before (only Mark 1 and 2 Purple, no Rainbow qualifies even remotely in this equation, nor later iterations of Purple).

He personifies icon. Forget his latest work too. Nothing touches his playing in early Purple, just pay attention to the live versions of anything before David Coverdale. This puts him in the rarified airspace dominated by Hendrix."

It's been said that he's recently had hand surgery, which would play in his decision not to attend in a big way, but there has been acrimony between the two camps for years.

No justice here, however you slice it. This is bad news for me, even with the diminishing returns of being in the Hall these days.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

David Bowie "Blackstar"

Sadness from David's recent death, along with the overwhelming response I've had to this, his last (most recent?) collection, prompted me to fire off this bit about Blackstar.

Simply, it's the most compelling new work by any artist, far and away the most innovative and emotionally evocative piece of music I've witnessed in a very long time. It really shows in a kind of almost final way what magnitude of artist we're discussing here.

It almost makes me miss him more than most music icon deaths in recent and long-range memory. I was pretty upset when Lennon was shot, but that, in hindsight, is what happens to famous people who get stalked (not that that's OK by any stretch). Bowie died a slow death that can't be imagined.

In this, early 2016, Blackstar is the top artistic achievement of the year thus far, by far.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Billy Nicholls "Would You Believe"

I've been perusing YouTube in search of gems (I actually have an unreleased series of these finds called Mining YouTube Gold), and perhaps I'll review my own comps in the future (one way to garner a good score!)...

Billy Nicholls' LP is a rare and true gem in that it happened to fall into the gray area when Andrew Loog Oldham was losing Immediate records, and it only saw an initial run of 100 promo copies till it was reissued a number of times in the 90's, by various labels and by Billy himself. Originally, Billy was hired as a staff writer for Immediate, and charged to create a British Pet Sounds, as Andrew was very into that sound and style. Labelmates Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane produced the title track, and Andrew oversaw the rest.

On this LP, many notables appear from the London recording scene, including Big Jim Sullivan, John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Jerry Shirley, Steve Marriott, Nicky Hopkins, and Caleb Quaye, to name a few. Tall cotton here, making this a world-class obscurity in my book. Sunshine pop understandably informs this album, and with the right promotion and airplay, could have been a breakthrough for Billy at the time. Instead, history (as it always does, even in my own experiences with releasing music) redeems itself nicely, as age has added to the importance of this release.

If you're a fan of the lighter side of British pop, this is the grail.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Welcome all, to this, my inaugural entry on the warm teenage tangerine!