Moody Blues, Dylan, the Boss, solo Fab

Smile Away

Bob_Dylan_-_Love_and_TheftIn response to my most recent Ask Roger Anything request – you can STILL ask! – TWO music questions.

My old buddy Kevin, who grew up in my area, but who I didn’t know until college, asked:
What are your favorite albums by 1) the Moody Blues, 2) Bob Dylan and 3) Bruce Springsteen?

The Moody Blues is easy. While I have a few albums on vinyl that I haven’t listened to in forever, I never got any on CD or as downloads, except for a greatest hits CD. So the only album I can remember without looking it up is Days Of Future Passed. And I liked it not just based on its themes of dayparts, but the fact that a 1967 album could generate a hit half a decade later. Nights In White Satin went to #103 pop in 1968, but to #2 pop for two weeks in 1972.

My first favorite Springsteen album was Born To Run, the album that got him on the cover of Time and Newsweek simultaneously. And Darkness On The Edge Of Town was a very strong follow-up. Born In The USA is, naturally a great album, but I heard it a bit too often in the 1980s.

I should note that c. 2000, my late brother-in-law John asked me what I wanted for Christmas or my birthday. I said any Springsteen CD prior to 1992, most of which I had on vinyl. He bought me Asbury Park, both Born albums, Darkness, and The River, the two-record set which I had never owned.

Around 2006, my sister Leslie bought me We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. Some great songs, done well. But many of them appear in the two-CD Live in Dublin that came out in 2007, and they’re even better.

Zimmerman

Considering the vast number of Dylan CDs I now own, it’s peculiar that I never bought a Bob album in the 1960s. It’s due in part to the fact that I had belonged to the Capitol Record Club in 1966/67, where I got the bulk of my Beatles LPs, not to mention albums by the Beach Boys, Lovin’ Spoonful, and others. Bob was on Columbia. The ONLY Dylan song I owned was from a cheap compilation album, The Best of ’66, which had I Want You.

In fact, the first Dylan album I purchased was for my high school girlfriend, the double album Self-Portrait, which came out in 1970. I wasn’t impressed, and I’m not even sure whether SHE liked it.

Eventually, I bought a few LPs – John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline. But it wasn’t until CDs came out that I started to backfill my Dylan collection: Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde, and my favorite, Blood on the Tracks.

I had pre-ordered Love and Theft, which was to be released on September 11, 2001. After I left work early that day – we all did – I was riding my bike home and I went past the record store. I stopped, got the album, and stood around the store awhile as the television was recapitulating the awful news of the day.

I didn’t listen to the album for well over a week. But when I did, I LOVED it, especially the run that began with the third track, Summer Days. I played this album a lot, and it made me happy in a very sad time.

Solo Fabs

Julie, who I’ve known for a few years – I have a pic of her holding my daughter when L was a baby – wants to know:
 What is the best solo Beatles album?

Oh, my, I have been musing on this forever. Conventional Wisdom would put All Things Must Pass by George and Plastic Ono Band by John at the top of the list. These would be totally legitimate choices, especially ATMP, which proved that John and Paul underestimated their younger bandmate. I just watched Concert For George from 2002, and it reminded me just how much I loved Wah Wah.

Yet, and maybe it’s because I’ve listened to it recently, that I’m picking Paul’s (and Linda’s) Ram. Your folks would know that when it came out in 1971, it was savaged by much of the music press. Part of this was a function of the less-than-kind things John said about the album.

Really? Yes

As this 2021 review noted, “The record… saw the singer lay down a blueprint that would eventually help build some of the most notable genres around. You can trace everything from Britpop to pure jangle indie back to this record.” Too Many People, for instance, was a jab at John, much more subtle than John’s How Do You Sleep on his Imagine album.

From All Music: “In retrospect, it looks like nothing so much as the first indie-pop album, a record that celebrates small pleasures with big melodies, a record that’s guileless and unembarrassed to be cutesy. But McCartney never was quite the sap of his reputation… There’s some ripping rock and roll in the mock-apocalyptic goof Monkberry Moon Delight, the joyfully noisy Smile Away, where his feet can be smelled a mile away, and  Eat At Home, a rollicking, winking sex song.”

When I played it recently for the first time this century, I said, pretty much to myself, “Damn, I really LIKE this album!” And I remembered it amazingly well.

Oh, and I have a great affection for the Ringo album, which featured all four of them, not all at the same time. Do the Travelling Wilburys count as “solo”? Because I’d stick that first album in the mix.

Tom Petty: the End of the Line

According to his wife, Dana, Tom Petty endured the pain of a fractured hip throughout a 40th-anniversary tour with his longtime band, the Heartbreakers.

pettyUsually, music brings me joy. But sometimes it feeds into my melancholy. As I was reading about how Tom Petty’s death is still a hard reminder for aging rockers about the downside of life on the road, I was reminded of that phenomenon.

Back in 2015, he acknowledged that he was a heroin addict in the ’90s, “something he had sliced out of Peter Bogdanovich’s four-hour documentary, 2007’s ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream.'”

How does a 50-year-old become a junkie? He talked about it to Warren Zanes in a biography, unauthorized only because Petty didn’t want to dictate what Zanes could or could not write

Addiction happened “when the pain becomes too much and you live in a world, in a culture, where people have reached in the direction of heroin to stop the pain. He’s a rock and roller. He had had encounters with people who did heroin, and he hit a point in his life when he did not know what to do with the pain he was feeling.”

Then in 2017, “Tom Petty was rushed to a hospital… in full cardiac arrest… Weeks later, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s report confirmed what many family members, friends and fans feared: Petty had accidentally overdosed.

“Among the combination of sedatives, anti-depressants and painkillers found in Petty’s system was the opioid fentanyl, the same drug on which Prince overdosed in 2016. According to his wife, Dana, Petty endured the pain of a fractured hip throughout a 40th-anniversary tour with his longtime band, the Heartbreakers.”

Here are three songs:

Gainesville, a new song with the Heartbreakers about his hometown area, about which he had mixed feelings.

Free Fallin’, the first song on my favorite Tom Petty album, the “solo” disc Full Moon Fever (1989)

Possibly my favorite. The End of the Line. I love the “happy accident” that was the Traveling Wilburys. On this track, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, and Roy Orbison sing the choruses, and Petty sings the verses. In the video, Roy is recently deceased, as only his framed picture in a rocking chair appears. George, of course, died in 2001. With Petty gone, the song makes me wistful.

T is for Traveling Wilburys

The two Traveling Wilburys albums were out of print for about a decade.

Dylan, Lynne, Petty, Orbison, Harrison
Dylan, Lynne, Petty, Orbison, Harrison

Everything about the creation of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, I love. From the website comes a story I already knew.

George Harrison was asked by the folks at Warner Brothers Records to put together a non-album B-side for a single from the ex-Beatles’ album Cloud Nine.

Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison had shared dinner, then went to Bob Dylan’s home studio in Malibu, California. George had left a guitar at Tom Petty’s house, and when he went to retrieve it, he invited Petty to join in the fun.

Harrison played the resulting track, Handle with Care, to the WB brass, who thought the song was too good to bury on the flip side of George’s single. Maybe it could become part of an album?

The five frontmen took on the persona of the Traveling Wilburys from this: “Referring to recording errors created by some faulty equipment, Harrison jokingly remarked to Lynne, ‘We’ll bury ’em in the mix’ Thereafter, they used the term for any small error in performance… Harrison suggested ‘The Trembling Wilburys’ as the group’s name; instead, Lynne suggested ‘Traveling’, with which the group agreed.”

The album was very well received and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group in 1989. Unfortunately, “Roy Orbison died of a heart attack on December 6, 1988… Despite Orbison’s death, the remaining group members recorded a second and final studio album, which they intentionally misnumbered Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. It was released on October 30, 1990, and met with less success than the previous one.”

I had thought Volume 3 was a function of all the collaborations among them, but it was an acknowledgment of bootlegs of the original sessions featuring songs not on that first album.

The group talked about touring, but it never happened. I had heard rumors of Del Shannon replacing Orbison, but he died on February 8, 1990.

The two albums were out of print for about a decade, until they were re-released, with added tracks, in 2007, including Nobody’s Child, the title track for a benefit album. “The project was organized by Olivia Harrison, who created the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation with the other wives of The Beatles (Barbara Bach, Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney) in April 1990.”

The singles

1988 “Handle with Care” (US 45, AUS 3, NZ 4, UK 21)
1989 “End of the Line” (US 63, AUS 12, NZ 11, UK 52)
1990 “Nobody’s Child” (NZ 9, UK 44)
1990 “She’s My Baby” (AUS 45, CAN 30, UK 79)
1991 “Wilbury Twist” (CAN 86)

You can find Nobody’s Child HERE. The remaining songs above, plus Inside Out, you can listen to HERE, and Margarita HERE.

For good measure, I Call Your Name – Ringo Starr, backed by Harrison, Lynne, Petty, and Traveling Wilburys drummer Jim Keltner on cowbell.

abc18
ABC Wednesday – Round 18

May Rambling: Stolen Scream and lots of music

THE QUID IS A COOL ROCK BAND that gained some success during the Garage Band era in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

 

The Stolen Scream (via Steve Bissette’s Facebook page). Creative theft is a global phenomenon. “The Stolen Scream” is a snapshot of just one such phenomenal, almost spontaneous international appropriation of an artist’s (in this case, a photographer’s) work.

A death that was also a birth. “As a midwife, I’ve spent the last 30 years taking care of women in pregnancy. But nothing prepared me for this.”

It’s a horrible cycle I’m quite familiar with and occasionally adore. After all, anxiety is king, and I am its lowly peasant. Going into public, whether a store, the movies, a restaurant or a family function, is exhausting. (New blogger, a friend of a friend.)

Another Supermarket Interlude.

James Lipton gives Mitt Romney advice on how to come across as a more “authentic” human being. Of course, while some cannot forgive his economic policies, Willard being the Demon Barber of Wall Street and/or a flip-flopper, there are others who want to forget every mean word they’ve ever said about him.

Will the leaning tower of Pisa fall over?

7-UP: a Branding Revolution

It’s the second half of Mark Evanier’s story about his high school yearbook that’s really entertaining. He also writes about The $10,000 Pyramid, one of my three favorite game shows ever, and shares someone’s story about Dick Cavett, who I used to watch religiously on late night TV.

Upfronts: 2012–Video Trailers. Clips of the various new shows from the networks.

Steve Bissette has me wanting to see the new Dark Shadows movie, which I had previously dismissed. A Pac-Man movie and Movies With Matching Titles.

A Yank’s Humble Guide To Kiwi Music (Part II)

The Music of Nick McKaig, performing the Star Wars Theme (which Jaquandor linked to), some Christmas songs, plus TV themes such as The Simpsons, The Muppets, Friends, The Office, Mission: Impossible, and more.

A week’s worth of Na

Pictures at an Exhibition – especially check out the guy playing it on solo acoustic guitar.

THE QUID IS A COOL ROCK BAND that gained some success during the Garage Band era in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, from the POV of the wife of a former band member.

The obligatory Muppets segment: Racialious crushes Kevin Clash and Harry Belafonte; the latter has a song that shows up on SamuraiFrog’s 50 Favorite Muppet Songs. Do I want GPS via Sesame Street?

Brothers In Arms, the Dire Straits album, covered. Also, Coverville 867: The Beastie Boys Cover Story (and Adam Yauch tribute), and Coverville 871: The Donna Summer Cover Story, and Coverville 872: The Robin Gibb/Bee Gees Cover Story III.

Dustbury: “It bothers me a great deal that we’re now down to one Bee Gee. And I think it’s because it’s Barry, the oldest of the brothers, who’s still with us;” he speaks from experience. Arthur’s complicated feelings about the BeeGees, and especially Donna Summer. And here is Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park Suite (Extended Version), all 17+ minutes of it, the way I remembered it.

The New York Times obit of Doc Watson, legendary guitarist and folk singer.

The True Story Of The Traveling Wilburys

FROM THE OTHER BLOGS

What happens to your online content when you die?

Dumb and dumber?: Study finds level of Congressional speech in decline

GOOGLE ALERTS

On April 24th Joe Sampson performed a ten-song set with some of his friends joining him onstage. Nathaniel Rateliff, Roger Green & Esme Patterson joined him on stage and together they performed songs from Joe’s latest album.

But the club’s move to appoint Avery, alongside Roger Green, has been one of the masterstrokes of Sticker’s recent history.

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