On “Wreckage,” Martina Grbac plays the cello with her fingers, strumming chords on the neck of the instruments in a way I’ve not seen anyone play before. Grbac sings quietly and her voice–echoing and effects-laden–reminds me of someone from the 1990s, although I can’t exactly pinpoint it (maybe a Cocteau Twins vibe? but not quite). James Han plays really interesting chords and textures on the keyboard. Sometimes he adds melody lines, and other times, like at the end of this song, growing washes of sounds. Ross Harada’s percussion is also fun for the complex and different sounds he adds to the songs.
“Anniversary” has a similar vibe withe that cello chord playing. The opening keys play simple echoing notes which add a nice atmosphere to the acoustic chords and percussion.
For the final song, “Fall or Fall,” Grbac plays a rapidly bowed cello (which has such a different sound than the other songs). The bass is provided by the synth (a good sounding bass). I love the way her voice contrasts the keyboard chords. The chord progressions throughout the song are interesting and I really like the unexpected sounds that close out the song.
I’d never heard of Land Lines, but I liked this show enough to listen to it a bunch of times. I’ll have to check out their other songs as well.
[READ: July 9, 2016] The Complete Peanuts 1977-1978
I feel like this era is when I would have read Peanuts the most, although I have no recollection of any of these strips.
The covers of the books don’t necessarily depict who will be prominent in the collection, but Peppermint Patty on the front does equal a lot of Patty inside. While Peppermint Patty continues to do very poorly in school, she does get some witty remarks like “What was the author’s purpose in writing this story? Maybe he needed the money.”
We see a return of Truffles in January which also introduces Sally calling Linus her Sweet Babboo for the first time. “I’m not your Sweet Babboo!” Truffles is very excited to see Linus and vice versa but it kind of ends with unanswered questions because, in one of the first times this surreal gag was introduced, Snoopy flies in as a helicopter–a joke used many more times in the future–to sort of interrupt the whole saga.
Snoopy also pretends to be the Cheshire Cat a few times.
It has been a while since Linus has built anything outstanding (something he used to do a lot as a precocious child). Well, in Feb 1977 he builds a snowman of Washington crossing the Delaware (to show up Lucy’s George Washington snowman with a little sword).
Charlie finally seeks revenge on the kite-eating tree by biting it! The EPA comes after him, but when the tree dies it settles the case. However, once he hears the EPA is after him, Charlie runs away only to meet some little kids named Austin (! in 1978?) and Ruby. They think he’s pretty cool and ask him to coach their team. This gives Charlie some real pride (even though he is seen at one point hiding in a box saying “Why Me, Lord”) especially when at the end, a little boy named Milo says “When I grow up I want to be like you, Charles.”
Once again, there is a lot of tennis in this book–a frankly staggering amount. It may even eclipse baseball. Snoopy often gets paired in mixed doubles with Molly Volley, a loud abrasive woman who hates to lose.
There’s also a lot of golf. In April 1977, Snoopy heads off for the masters but he doesn’t make the cut. And in June, Patty and Marcie get jobs as caddies.
There’s also a lot of jogging on this book, which was very trendy–in fact Oct 8 was declared national jogging day. Mostly it’s done by Snoopy, with his body parts talking and complaining.
In August of 1977 Patty asks Snoopy to be a watchdog again (despite the disastrous result last time). This time he hears a noise and we learn (but never see) that it’s a female who he is suddenly planning to marry! They set the whole wedding in motion, even inviting Spike to the ceremony. Although Spike winds up stealing the woman and they run back to his place (where she then runs off with a coyote).
The stupid cat from next door (who was named Word War II but is no longer mentioned by name) also had a lot of strips (even though he is unseen). There are tons of jokes of him swiping at Snoopy’s house and either destroying it or often-times creating a shape in the house as part of punchline–most are pretty funny, but man he does a lot of them.
For the Great Pumpkin in 1977 Linus asks Snoopy to be like Paul Revere and ride through town calling out the news.
Sarah and I both agreed in this great truth from Lucy in November 1977, ” When you’re getting a drink of water in the dark always rinse out the glass because there might be a bug in it. Five cents please.”
Patty gets a series of strips in which she goes undercover to see who stole her teacher’s gold stars (something she desperately wants to get on a paper). She becomes the custodian Hans Hansen (with a long mustache and a hat). Snoopy takes her place in the class (he wears a wig). The mystery is solved by Patty although she is despondent to see that Snoopy earned a star while pretending to be her.
I really enjoyed this joke which must have been timely:
Lucy: Just before the test began, our teacher goes “Does everyone have a pencil.” The fat kid across the aisle from me goes, “I don’t.” Then this other kid with glasses goes, “Sure you do, you have mine.” Charlie Brown asks “Whatever happened to the word, “Said?”
Woodstock has started bugging Schroeder lately (Lucy does too, of course) but usually when Woodstock goes to the piano, the notes gang up on him in some way.
As always, winter means ice skating. There are two jokes about Mr. Frick who was an ice skating comedian that I’ve never heard of, and Dick Button who I only know because of Olympic coverage.
Patty is ice skating again and Snoopy is her grumbling coach. But when the hockey team tries to take over the ice, Party will have none of it. She stands up to them, and even Marcie races to her rescue, although she doesn’t have skates on and she wipes out on the ice. When Marcie comes to, she says “let’s go back and shorten a few life spans, sir.”
After many many strips of Patty falling asleep at school, Marcie thinks she knows what’s wrong with her–unrequited love! She says that Patty calls out Chuck’s name a lot. She eventually makes Patty call him and ask, “Do you love me, Chuck.” Charlie pretends it’s a wrong number.
There are number of jokes about Snoopy as a Beagle Scout leader training the 4 bird scouts (all in hats), Woodstock, Conrad, Oliver and Bill. The go on many hikes with some very good jokes. And then in July the two threads meet when Patty and Marcie are hiking and they run into the scouts. Marcie finds a giant worm or something which turns out to be a bird in a sleeping bag.
Snoopy introduces a joke to boost morale. A new brand of jelly called Smirk so when people get it on their face you can say, “Wipe that smirk off your face.”
Sally continues with the great groaner puns, “You know where King David wrote his psalms? Under a psalm tree.”
May 1978 sees one of the first strips about soccer. Charlie gives a few reasons why Lucy might enjoy it but she says, “I just like to kick things.”
May 1978 also see Charlie thinking about the little red-haired girl again. By August he has built up the nerve to call her. But he misdials and gets Patty instead who is so excited that he called that she sets up a date with him. As Dec 1978 draws to a close, we see Charlie hiding behind a tree looking at the red-haired girl’s house. Lucy shouts to her house: “Hey kid, your lover’s out here!”
Summer of 1978 has Sally going of to camp (but not Charlie). She is dreading it and is planning to be unhappy the whole time. But then she meets Eudora who is so helpless that Sally winds up making a good friend and not hating camp. Later in October, Eudora movies to town: “I don’t even know where I am now” and is in Sally’s class. Linus lets Eudora try his blanket and she keeps it (she had a cute smile). He goes through blanket withdrawal but Eudora calls him her Sweet Babboo (Sally screams “He’s not your Sweet Babboo!”). He asks Snoopy to try to get the blanket back so Snoopy slips into a blazer to join the disco scene: “I’ve got disco fever, Babe. Whats your sign, Babe? You a Leo?” Eventually it turns out that she gave the blanket to the cat next door and there are many days of fighting until Woodstock returns victorious.
In one of the strangest pop culture references I’ve seen, Snoopy stops a tennis match to wonder if anyone else thinks that the portrait of Carl Sandburg on a 13 cent stamp looks like Pancho Gonzales (a tennis player). This actually lasts for several strips.
Later Snoopy references Christo in Nov 1978: “I remember when Christo hung the valley curtain in Colorado. I loved the running fence in California and the wrapped walkways in Kansas City.” In the next panel, his doghouse is wrapped.
There are of course baseball jokes but perhaps the best one is Lucy telling Charlie that when he gets famous maybe they’ll name a candy bar after him (the Reggie bar (one of my favorites) came out in 1978). She says, “It’ll probably be hard to unwrap and have chocolate that melts all over your fingers.”
Later in 1978 Lucy writes a “biography” of Beethoven in which she says he dated Phyllis George who was Miss America and a TV personality (she even appeared on The Muppet Show in 1979).
As the book ends, on New Year’s Eve we prepare for yet another party at Woodstock’s.
This introduction was written by Alec Baldwin. He talks about the psychological forces at play in the strips and then talks about Lucy who foreshadowed the empowered alpha female personified by Billie Jean King and Hillary Clinton.
He says that Schroeder (the first “person” he’d met whose name began with four constants) introduced him to Beethoven and his music like the Hammerklavier Sonata (Opus 106).
He says that Snoopy is Walter Mitty-like and Schulz’ most advanced and complicated character. Snoopy “sees thing that never were and says why not.” Two sum up the main two characters: Charlie Brown is faith, Snoopy is hope.
He summarized by saying that Schulz is like Mark Twain: simple characters, simple settings, simple stories But their impact is enormous.