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pierre

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Everything posted by pierre

  1. I'm going to this event in two weeks' time - 3 days of Beatles tributes (group and solo), British invasion type bands and even Terry Sylvester of the Hollies. It will be held nearby in Belleville, Ontario. Here's the link to the website. http://www.abbeyroadontherivercanada.com/ Any comments?
  2. By 1990, radio wasn't really interested in Paul Simon anymore. "The Obvious Child" was the first single and is almost entirely percussion. It's a bit like "Late in the Evening", but with the chords de-emphasized. "Proof" was also a single in some places - it reminds a bit of "You Can Call Me Al", with its prominent horn arrangement. While those songs were the obivous choices for singles, the rest of the album is relatively low-key and I think that's what affected the media coverage. If you liked Graceland, "Saints" is definitely worth a listen.
  3. In my previous post, I suggested that the live version of "Cool Cool River" was one of my favourites. Actually, pretty much any Paul Simon song live (since he released Graceland) is a treat. It may be hell at times to be in his band (he appears to be very demanding of his musicians), but it really pays off in sterling performances. I saw a couple of shows on the "Saints" tour and they were by far the most professional "rock" (if you can call it that) performances I've ever seen. Songs like "Proof" really shine with a big, diverse collection of musicians. One of the interesting things about Paul Simon is the wide range of opinions about what is his best work. I would hazard a guess that most people in this forum (and most casual fans) would select his S&G/70s stuff. But there are also quite a few people like myself who, perhaps due to overplay of the earlier material, swear by the later stuff. It hasn't all been good ("You're the One" was kind of turgid after the first few tracks), but I think it is much more interesting. If I had been 14 when "Bridge" was released, my take might well be different!
  4. While I enjoy most of Paul's work after leaving Simon & Garfunkel, I really think his best stuff started in the 1980s. 1. The Boy In The Bubble 2. Rene & Georgitte Magritte With Their Dog After The War 3. The Late Great Johnny Ace But this list would change every day. Even now, I'm thinking about "Late In the Evening", the terrifc live version of "Cool, Cool River", the simple joy of "You Can Call Me Al", the great music (but terrible lyrics) of "The Vampires"...and, going way back, the great melody (although I think he "borrowed" it) from "American Tune".
  5. 60%, although I thought I was going to score higher. Those were some pretty obscure questions.
  6. or maybe it's a combination of both. My understanding was that they had some kind of contractual obligation to play covers by Arista songwriters (rather than do too much of their own material). And, given the sound on "Elevator", I'm not convinced that the MOR sound on "It's A Game" or "Strangers in the Wind" (or whatever it was called) was really what they wanted to play.
  7. I saw Ringo at Casino Rama a few years ago, the first time Colin Hay was in the band. I remember thinking how the songs of the others were pretty good, but Ringo's were mostly lame (especially the Beatles-era stuff). Not surprising - he hardly got the best material when he was with the Beatles...but he takes the approach that people want to hear those songs. Yellow Submarine, in particular, was a travesty. It's a dodgy song to begin with, but without the overdubs, it really is exposed as a soggy blanket. He had a good album out then (Ringo Rama); it's too bad he didn't play more from it. Ah well, at least I can say that I saw Ringo live. He did put on a good show, notwithstanding the limitations of some of his material.
  8. I just acquired a CD copy of "Elevator", as I remembered the title track being a cracking cut when I heard it on vinyl at my radio station. It's still good - and the rest of the album is pretty good too. Ironically, it's far better than any of their million-sellers. Yet another artist mismanaged by Arista?
  9. pierre

    EURO 2008

    I was watching Euro 2008 with interest, as I am half-Swiss, half-Dutch. The Swiss, as usual, played well but didn't get the wins that counted. The Dutch were dominant in the opening round, but they too have a history (save for Euro 1988) of not winning the truly big games. Having said that, Russia looked awesome and they deserved to win against the Dutch. As for the rest of the tourney, I'd like to see the Russians win now. I like to see attacking soccer, so I'm glad that the cynical, defensive style of the Italians has resulted in their elimination.
  10. Heard of all of them but "Aesop Rock"...own one of them. I saw Captain Beefheart on The Old Grey Whistle Test once...a truly demented sound. Yet intriguing at the same time. I was surprised not to see "The Modern Lovers" on there, which has been cited by several music snobs as a great album. But when I listened to it, it just sounded juvenile.
  11. This is spooky. I posted that on Monday at 2 minutes after midnight. And now I just found out that Al Wilson died that day. I hope the others are all OK!
  12. 1. "When Will I See You Again" - The Three Degrees...love that Philly Sound! 2. "I Wish" - Stevie Wonder 3. "100 Days, 100 Nights" - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings 4. "The Snake" - Al Wilson 5. "Theme for The Five Fingers of Death" - Bunny Sigler If you haven't heard the last track, it is UNBELIEVABLE! Maybe not because it's so great, but because it is so "unique"...
  13. Ozomatli is great - a potent stew of all kinds of music. But I also enjoy bands like The Eels, Fountains of Wayne (although their last album was kind of weak), The Shazam, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and songs here and there like "Everything is Alright" by Tomi Swick. Following music these days just takes a little more work than it used to.
  14. Bob Dylan has a few nasty ones. When I was DJing shortly after an unexpected break-up 16 years ago, I played "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" on my radio show. That felt better. The song is especially effective because it doesn't have an angry sound to it. Paul McCartney did a song called "Angry", on the "Press to Play" album. But sounded like forced anger. More convincing were the B-Sides to Hope of Deliverance: "Long Leather Coat" and "Big Boys Bickering". Speaking of angry songs by former Beatles, how about John Lennon's "God", "Gimme Some Truth", "Working Class Hero" and "How Do You Sleep?"...? Mostly genuine, although he was certainly not working class. Closer to home, Bruce Cockburn's "If I Had a Rocket Launcher", "Call it Democracy" and "Stolen Land" all have quite a bit of genuine anger. As do a lot of his 1980s songs.
  15. I've just started reading "Comrade Rockstar", a biography of Dean Reed. Anybody familiar with this? I've only read the first couple of chapters, but the story (and it's for real) goes like this: Reed travels to Chile to escape Hollywood and his Capitol Records contract. He becomes a big star there, then gets spotted in Helsinki and becomes the Elvis of the Eastern Bloc. Absolutely huge - movies, records, you name it - in East Germany and the Soviet Union. He keeps his American passport, mind you. Then he is found drowned in East Berlin in 1986. The verdict is "accidental drowning", which is a surprise to all. Apparently, the East German police said "it's either a crime, a suicide, or an accident. There is no crime in East Germany...Dean Reed was happy, so it's not suicide...therefore, it was an accident." It's bizarre already. I can't imagine what else is coming in the book.
  16. While Paul and John were sniping at each other in song, I think they had more or less reconciled by '74. Paul has written many songs in tribute to John (some obvious, like "Here Today", others less so) over the years. I haven't heard "Toot and a Snore in '74" but apparently the magic needed some polishing when they jammed one night in L.A! What worried me more was watching Anthology in the 1990s and seeing how George was still visibly irritated by Paul. Who knows how much irritation was in the unused footage?
  17. I had a good year for concerts: 1. Raspberries in Cleveland, Dec. 14/07 2. Crowded House in Montreal, Aug. 07 3. Aretha Franklin in Toronto, April 07 4. Cheap Trick (and April Wine) in Belleville, Ontario, July 2007 I might have the dates wrong, but you get the idea. Raspberries and Crowded House were great, Aretha has seen better days but it was still cool to see her...and Cheap Trick, well, at least I got a pick from Rick Nielsen. I was in the front row, but too close to the speakers and too close to Robin Zander (he looked *rough*).
  18. Madonna has sold over 250 million albums. 48 Top Forty singles (28 of which were in the top 5, 43 of which were in the top 20) and counting. This is on the regular Billboard Hot 100 chart. By the way, Madonna has also had thirty-seven *number-one* singles on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Her impact on "mainstream" music is massive, her impact on dance music probably even more so. A debatable achievement for many on this board...but then again you can dance to some rock music! Rock and Roll had already happened before Elvis. "Rocket 88" predated Elvis's Sun recordings by several years, as did many other recordings (usually by artists who were blocked by their skin colour). True, Elvis was the first rock and roll icon who was truly embraced and recognized by white America. Still, one could argue that Chuck Berry was more influential - he forced people to confront their own prejudices, as people liked his music and were often surprised to discover that he wasn't white. One thing I'd be interested in hearing is whether Elvis also had a significant following among non-whites. Sorry to turn this into a racial analysis, but I don't think you can truly escape that when discussing Elvis. Nor can you avoid a socio-economic analysis of who held the power in America during the 1950s.
  19. Madonna and Elvis are more alike than people think. And it's not just their forays into film. They both represent the classic blend of the sacred and the profane. Madonna's struggle with her Catholicism inspired some of her best work (Like a Prayer), while Elvis's spiritual influences need not be repeated here. But Madonna did something that Elvis could never do: she took control of her career and had great success in both the business and musical aspects. Elvis did what Colonel Tom told him to...Madonna took over the company. And was one of the first (if not the first) women to do that. Without Madonna, no Maverick Records, no Grrrrrl power, no Avril Lavigne, no Alanis Morisette, even no Spice Girls (I didn't say these were all good things, but she was and somehow continues to be influential!). And "builders" can be in the Hall of Fame just as much as musicians. It is a rare person indeed who can succeed at both sides of the music business. The woman is 100% rock (in the broad meaning of the word) - just from a different time and place than Elvis. Cher is also a great actress and has made some, er, records. But is she influential as a musician or recording artist? No. She is an entertainer, nothing more. Which is what some people have said about Elvis, by the way. But I won't go there.
  20. Well, I wasn't trying to be taken too seriously with my previous post (other than the Buffalo Springfield part - I really believe that they don't belong), but I might as well continue...knowing full well that opinions here are passionately held... Leonard Cohen's lyrics are entirely different from Dylan's. In their prime, they were both far removed from the usual moon-June stuff that surrounded them. I found Dylan to be more of an absurdist who took a playful approach to language (just look at his liner notes), while Cohen was coming from a more poetic (not just rhyming, as Dylan often did) perspective. Madonna deserves to be in the Hall of Fame just as much as Elvis Presley. Hugely popular, merging previously disparate styles of music, iconic, some decent tunes and some forgettable ones, loathed by parents..."that's rock and roll." My appreciation of the Dave Clark 5 is also limited by the lack of available DC5 music - good point. But were they "leading the way" with each new release? My *personal* opinion is that they were a good band that had the classic Beatles/Merseybeat sound down pat...and they were rewarded for it in the mid-60s with a ton of hit records. Does that equate to Hall of Fame? IMHO, more so than The Pretenders...but not a slam dunk either. As for the Ventures - I will admit to a bias against instrumental bands (and bands that perpetually release 5 albums a year). And no, I don't find them very interesting compared to oh, let's see, pretty much every prominent Brazilian artist of the Tropicalia movement (none of whom have a hope of hell of getting in the Hall of Fame, but took rock in a brilliant new direction in the 1960s and beyond). Those guys (just to name a few: Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, etc., etc.) combined brilliant music AND rhythm AND lyrics AND were often exiled/imprisoned for their music. OK, I'm done muckraking for now. Nothing personal, everybody...and remember, I'd love to see the Raspberries in the Hall just as much as you would.
  21. I was at the Hall last Friday and saw that Buffalo Springfield was in. Er, what's that about? Isn't that kind of like inducting the Quarrymen because they evolved into the Beatles? I have nothing against Buffalo Springfield. But when compared to the artists who have been left out, I really have a hard time understanding this. And as for this year's nominees...if you consider the Hall of Fame to be rewarding creativity or innovation, then Leonard Cohen (for his lyrics) and Madonna (for the brilliant image makeovers) deserve recognition. I have a harder time justifying Mellencamp (competent and popular, but innovative?), Dave Clark (not-so-latter day Beatles) and Ventures (various reasons, but most of all I just don't find them very interesting).
  22. I had the "pleasure" of walking through the Beaches neighbourhood in Toronto on Canada Day in the early 1990s and encountering a Dan Hill concert in the park. "Sometimes When We Touch" is very saccharine to my ears and is often cited in discussions like this. But for me (admittedly a non-parent), he performed one that was even worse. I think it was called "Unborn Child" and it had more syrup (both in the lyrics and the performance) than I thought was humanly possible. Here is a lyric link: http://www.asklyrics.com/display/Dan_Hill/Unborn_Child_Lyrics/318059.htm Once again, I also nominate any of Starship's hits for this dubious honour.
  23. First, let me start off by saying that Friday's concert was great (I also saw the first NYC concert in 2005). Here were a few of the highlights for me: 1. That's Rock and Roll - out of the blue, but they managed to make this song absolutely killer after a (relatively) lightweight treatment on Eric's solo debut. 2. Ticket to Ride - The Lennon/McCartney interplay of Bryson/Carmen was shocking...you could have sworn it was the Fab 4 up there! 3. Jim's drumming - it was powerful and miked perfectly. 4. I Don't Know What I Want - it was stunning in NYC and on the DVD, but somehow it was even better this time around. Their performance proves that it is a true lost classic. 5. It has been said before, but I'll say it again...Eric's voice gets better as the show goes on. By the time he sang Go All The Way, it was like he was just getting started. 6. Speaking of Go All The Way, the combination of the crowd and the band's obvious joy made this a blazing rendition and breathed new life into their most famous song. Was this the best concert yet? I'm not sure. I think it depends on your individual context. For me, the NYC concert had the additional element of being my first Raspberries concert and having all of that extra "unbelievability" factor. There were some relatively minor glitches this time around (to my ears, I think Wally flubbed the beginning of Play On...and the rest of you have commented on some other flubs) and I also think the sound was a bit overloaded towards the end of the show - there was some "ringing" as everybody seemed to play harder! Still, it was a remarkable night. There was no fat at all in the set list and, other than having 2 more songs in the encore, there is very little that I would change. OK, there is one thing. While "That's Rock and Roll" was essential, I didn't feel the same way about "All By Myself". It was impressive to hear and yet I felt that it didn't have the same impact (particularly for such a huge hit). Perhaps it is overfamiliar? But instrumentally, Eric nailed it (as did Wally in the guitar solo). For me, "I Can Remember" left it in the dust.
  24. Louise and I may be at Otto Moser's as well - if so, we'll look out for the rowdy crowd (and either embrace or avoid it!)
  25. I haven't listened to all of the commentary yet, but (maybe) I'm amazed at how little Paul mentions Denny Laine. He was the only guy who stuck it out with Wings and it's as if he never existed. Mind you, Denny never looks very impressed or engaged in the videos.
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