Early Beatles… yay! Let’s ignore the crowning musical achievement of this band’s later, experimental work, and revel in the simplicities of cookie-cutter pop. OR, as if there was an alternative, let’s ignore 1962-1966 altogether, and skip directly to 1967-1970. Please, and thank you.
Sincerely, Associate Professor, T.P. Groove.
With fall in full, gravitational swing, slip into some Fresh Aire, by Omaha-based, rock ‘n classical music fusioned, Mannheim Steamroller. There are leaves on the cover, so… NATURALLY, this is a fall album, right?!
Anyway, Mannheim is solid, across the board, and also makes for comforting open, and yes, fresh air autumn music.
In 1966, Tim Hardin released his first studio album, Tim Hardin 1, and on this radiant release was not a reason to wonder, but instead a Reason to Believe, that Tim Hardin was, in fact, a timeless (and ultimately reckless) force, begging to be messed with.
The album’s third track, Smugglin’ Man, paints a greasy, underhanded picture of a deceitful man, THE man, able and willing to supply illegal substances to, among others, the Indians, the Arabs, and the Jews. This man of opportunity is, of course, Tim himself, or “Timmie” as the song goes. Be it guns, whiskey, gin or blatantly put, “anything illegal,” Tim was your late night go-to guy. Yes, Smugglin’ Man is a hell-of-a rockin’ R&B ditty, sung by a demon with an angel’s voice.
Cut to 1970’s compilation album, Tim Hardin.
Capitalizing on Tim’s breakout success of the late 60s, Tim Hardin (the album, not the man) was yet another repackaged, “Best of,” whose 9 (of 10) tracks made up the bulk of his first two albums (Tim Hardin 1 and Tim Hardin 2, naturally). I’m a completist sucker, so I had to have Tim Hardin, even though I’d already owned these songs two, and some even three times over.
All of this is very well, nice and good, but the (long-winded) message at heart, here, is that there is a hilarious oversight printed on this comp’s front cover. Instead of a rum-runnin’ man with a deviant mind for smugglin’, is instead a jaunty fellow with the habit for snuggling. As it’s printed, Snuggling Man paints a much different, and more family friendly picture than the gin-smugglin’, whiskey-sellin’ scar on the pale face of morality.
So, if you’re familiar with the song, here’s a little gift, smuggled, and snuggled, from me, to you…
I’m an old time snugglin’ man and I know just what to do
I’m an old time snugglin’ man and I know just what to do
I sell guns to the Arabs,
I sell dynamite to the Jews
– Lyrics by Tim Hardin, snuggler extraordinaire.
It’s all too often that I find myself, in my latest years, listening to clumps of artists. From their vibrant beginnings, to their (almost) predictable conclusions, my listening preferences, as of late, have seen a steady crash of repeated listens by a single artist or group. A few months ago, it was Minutemen. As of last week, it was Tim Hardin (and I doubt that pool ever really dries up), before that was The Kinks, Hot Snakes, RFTC, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Jim Croce, and now, once again, it’s Van “The Man” Morrison. Jackie Wilson Said, everything was going to be a-okay.
The debut album by Jane’s Addiction didn’t set the streets of Los Angeles on fire quite like 1988’s Nothing Shocking, or 1990’s Ritual de lo habitual. That is certainly not to say this (slightly doctored) live album doesn’t hit the needlepoint highs that the band is globally known and rewound for.
Jane’s Addiction, XXX, or Triple-X (whichever you prefer), is a great start, but barely measures up again the bands (only) first two albums. The rest (2003’s Strays and 2011’s The Great Escape Artist) is financial fodder.
No time to post! Playing Fireball Island, and a bit preoccupied. The Indiana Jones soundtracks work perfectly for this “dimensional adventure game.” Seriously… no time. Gotta get back to the Island.
This 7-disc classic Jazz comp by The Smithsonian Collection is a beast to tackle. Heavy on the Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, these 14 sides offer a grand overview of the weighty sphere known as Jazz, but with the scope of a bullet-pointed-casual-observer only seeking out the top 40 hits.
As I understand it, and I’m sure I’m wholeheartedly incorrect, Jazz is an organic entity that exists only as a deviation from the norm, until it became it. Like the Blues, Jazz is my most distant musical relative, but that doesn’t make The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz that much less enjoyable.
File this mistake under, “adolescent oversight.” This is as much an edition for collectors as the New Edition is a rival for most influential band of the 80s. You see, in 1997, big band music was big; at least it was where I grew up. It was a nostalgic glimpse into a well thought-out hoax, perfect to rival the Macarena and Aqua’s Barbie Girl. Commercial radio was sick-to-your-stomach-painful in the late 90s, and my overexcitement for something… ANYTHING different proved to be the better of me.
I had, in my faded understanding, neglected to grasp the fact that Great Hits of the Great Bands wasn’t a proper, cohesive release. I’d recently contemplated offering it up to the corner thrift if it weren’t for the sentimental value it (lethargically) held, but instead, I’ll keep it show the very simple, yet painful fact that very, very little has changed in the past 17 years.
Because the only way to stop a Tim Hardin train from derailing is a head-on collision with a low-hanging bridge of fate (and that can mean whatever the hell you want it to mean). My latest obsession is now in its third phase of its (six-part) metamorphosis, the phase I call, “The Later Works of Tim that Didn’t Sell Very Well, and That are Generally Difficult to Find.”
The next phase, phase four, is “Formal Completion of Tim’s Studio Albums,” which will kick into gear as soon as my 1970 copy of Suite for Susan Moore and Damion arrives at my doorstep (likely within seven days). The later albums, I’ve come to find, offer much more sentimentality than Tim’s earlier efforts, but still maintain that biting cleverness and songwriting craftsmanship that demand constant and continuous play.
I’m in a Tim Hardin-sized coma, and I hope I never open my eyes again.
Partially because I was too busy to snap a pic this morning, and partially because the importance of this “happened-upon” comp LP is the newest in my collection, I’ll milk the blues from this dry cow, and complete the front/back circle and, once again, suggest its esteemed seeking out.
If an endorsement by Jimmy Page isn’t enough… an endorsement by Jimmy Page should be damn well enough.
Cover distracted, ditsiness aside, The Beginning British Blues is a hint of British Blues history the laypeople (especially including myself) may not have otherwise been hip to. Bridging the Eric Clapton gap between The Yardbirds and Cream, the momentary glimpse of Clapton’s collaboration with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers seems to be the bulk of the focus here. With back sleeve write-up by Jimmy Page (together with Miles Road, a duet with Mr. Clapton), The Beginning British Blues is a hidden treasure of historical significance, something this guy here just discovered he needed to possess.
This soft wave disco outing by the Louisville duo, VHS or Beta, will have to wait for a formal introduction until an unforeseeable time in the not-so-near future when I can get my bearings straight and offer a little more than a slum’s whisper towards a meandering, half-baked observation. It’s time for bed kids. The weekend is coming.
1988 was a good year for Ministry, and the quote, unquote, twelve-inch, maxi-single (of only two songs), Stigmata, highlighted the aggressive enthusiasm of its umbrella, The Land of Rape and Honey, and still serves as one of the best Ministry songs to date, some 26 years later. Yeah, that’s right… Stigmata is 26 years old, and Al Jourgensen, believe it or not, is still alive. Image that shit.
Anyway, a classic, with any given redefinition.
As far as Lard is concerned, it really doesn’t get much better than 1989’s The Power of Lard. “Pity the poor trainer, in the stable when the racehorse farts,” “It’s ok to run out of butter in Zambia, just smear squashed caterpillars on your toast,” and “Poison Oak really is the aphrodisiac of the Gods” are just the red hot tip of the frozen iceberg found within the band’s debut track.
Fast forward to 2000 with the release of the band’s 2nd EP (three tracks). Their fourth and final release, 70’s Rock Must Die unfortunately features more tongue than cheek, and is by far the band’s ill-fated gift. For you see, there really is no bad Lard album, track, phrase, loop, what-have-you, there’s just spitfire Industrial brilliance, and their other stuff.
Sex sells, and so do lottery tickets. Hendrix was. His legacy is. Fervent toils remain unraveled over the greatness of this 6-stringed beast. Let them toil and snare, grieving for future’s ears. The future was last week, as well as tomorrow. Let time prematurely leak its incessant novelties, and let the cautious remain cautious.
RIP Johnny Allen Hendrix.