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Archive for the ‘Steve Miller’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Railway Club Vancouver (November 1988).

This is a “very good sounding show considering it is from 1988. This has a mix of unreleased songs, Greatest Hits songs, Melville songs and even a couple that would end up on Whale Music.”

Like the 1987 show here, this is also their last night in Vancouver. It’s hard to believe that previous show was the same band, as just a few months later (Nov-Mar), the sets are radically different.

It opens with the end of “Lyin’s Wrong,” and then moves into a fun version of Stompin’ Tom’s “Bridge Came Tumbling Down,” and then one of my favorite unreleased songs: “Woodstuck.”

The opening is to the tune of Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done”

I called on Crosby and I called on Nash / I asked them if they want to buy some hash / Oh the deal is done / Hanging out with Stephen Stills, I asked him if he wants to buy some pills / Oh the deal is done.

And then the main body is a rocking bluesy number with the chorus: “You can’t go back to Woodstock baby, you were just two years old.   You weren’t even born” and a big chant of “BAD KARMA!”

Things slow down with a version of “Triangles on the Walls.”

During the banter, Dave Clark talks about going up Grouse Mountain in his jeans and he says he was automatically a “Wofuh”–as soon as you get into the skis you’re going to start saying “Woah… fuck.”

A great sounding “Dope Fiends” is followed by “Green Sprouts” which is “the silliest song of all… about the worms of New Jersey.”  “What’s Going On” has an accordion!  And “Italian Song” has them singing in over the top Italian with an almost ska beat and melody.

There’s a goofy, slap funk cover of “Take the Money and Run.”  It’s fast and rocking, but they leave out the signature five claps after some verses.  Nevertheless there are some great harmonies at the end.

They play an unreleased song “Sue’s Mining Town” which is a bit of a rocker, and then one from Greatest Hits (released the previous year) called “Churches and Schools.”  The set ends with a slow and pretty “Higher and Higher.”

This is the only place you can hear “Italian Song” and “Sue’s Mining Town” and one of the few places you can hear “Woodstuck” (except for this video)

[READ:August 28, 2016] Tennis Lessons

I’ve enjoyed some stories by Dyer but I was actually reading this because he reviews the new David Foster Wallace collection String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis.

But it turns out that this is not so much a book review as a delightfully funny discussion of Dyer’s own tennis playing and how he also wanted to write a book about tennis–but never did.

Dyer proves to be a funny protagonist. In 2008, (age 50) he was about to sell his novel to a new publisher and he imagined writing a book about taking up tennis at age 50. Dyer is British and the popularity and success of Andy Murray was making tennis very popular in Britain again.  It seems like a great idea.

And then Dyer is honest with us:

as a perennial bottom feeder for whom writing has always doubled as a way of getting free shit, I as also hoping that a top-notch coach might be willing to give e free lessons in return for the massive exposure guaranteed by inclusion in the book.

(more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PINK FLOYD-the final cut: a requiem for the post war dream (1983).

My college experience seems very unlike many people’s (especially the stories I hear from you young kids today).  And I’m just talking musically.  I went to college in the late 80 and early 90s.  And my freshman year, the most popular albums on campus  were Steve Miller’s Greatest Hits, Squeeze’s 45s and Under and Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  My friend John also loved this album.  And I think we listened to it hundreds of times, blasting out of dorm room windows.

It’s kind of strange that college freshmen would embrace an album about (more or less) Roger Waters’ father dying in WWII, especially since none of our fathers had died at all, much less in WWII.  But angst finds its home I suppose.

This album is not a sequel to The Wall, but it has echoes (see what I did there) from that album.  There were touches of WWII in The Wall.  And sonically a lot of this album sounds similar.  The big difference is that Roger Waters wrote pretty much the whole thing, long time keyboardist Richard Wright left the band and David Gilmour, sings on only one song.  So, it’s practically a solo project (and it fees a lot like Waters’ solo album The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking).

This album seems to have alienated fans of Floyd. But I happen to like it quite a lot.  And, I it a lot while reading Gravity’s Rainbow.

“The Post War Dream” opens with military sounding horns and funereal organs, as befits an album about the war.  It also has an intriguing assortment of sound effects (I wonder where he gets most of this stuff).  It sounds very Pink Floyd–Roger Waters’ voice is pretty unmistakable).  But “Your Possible Pasts” sounds even more Pink Floyd.  Evidently this album has a number of songs that were cast offs from The Wall.  If that’s true, this is probably one of them, as it sounds like it could easily fit on that album–especially when the keyboards kick in during the second chorus (even if Richard Wright wasn’t on the album).  And the guitar solo is so David Gilmour–that’s what you call a signature sound.

“One of the Few” has something I love from Floyd–whispered vocals (“teach”) and creepy laughing; it works as a nice transition to the louder “The Hero’s Return.”  This track is very complex–all kinds of tonal shifts, echoed vocals and bitter lyrics.  It explodes into “The Gunner’s Dream,” a gentle piano ballad about a soldier being shot down.   It’s a surprisingly tender song (although not really given the topic of the album) and lyrically it is really impressive.  I don’t really care for the saxophone solo–it’s not my thing, but I think it actually works well for the song.  And, again the end sounds like it came from The Wall (Waters is amazing at angsty screams).

“Paranoid Eyes” is a delicate song that works, for me, as lead in to the wonderful “Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert” a short, string-filled somewhat goofy song that is very bitter under its seeming jocularity.  It’s followed by “The Fletcher Memorial Home,” a really dark track about old age with a lot of current political commentary thrown in (although the “group of anonymous Latin American meat-packing glitterati” always confused (and amused) me.  So even though it is “about” WWII, there’s plenty of anger at current political climate, right Maggie?.  Boom boom, bang bang, lie down, you’re dead–take it away David…

“Southampton Dock” is another gentle song, more of a story with musical accompaniment.  It segues into “The Final Cut” a fitting piano end to a sad album about death and loss, that also happens to reprise song elements from The Wall.

But that’s actually not the last song.  We get the incongruous “Not Now John.”  It really doesn’t fit with the album at all (I happen to love it, even if it doesn’t).  It’s way over the top, including the how-in-the-hell-did-they-think-this-would-be-a-single? opening lyrics: “fuck all that we gotta get on with this. (fuck all that).”  And yet, single it was, reaching #7 in the US.  Man it rocks.  Oi, where’s the fucking bar, John?

The album ends properly with “two suns in the sunset” a mostly acoustic track that returns the mood to more sombre feelings (except for the rocking section where you drive into an oncoming truck).  Never has futility felt so upbeat.  For an album as personal as this is, it really draws the listener in.  Of course, if you don’t want to be drawn in, it’s easy to resist, as many have.

The reissue (which I don’t have), includes the cool song from The Wall movie, “When the Tigers Broke Free.”  Which I imagine would work quite well contextually.

[READ: Week of April 30] Gravity’s Rainbow 4.7-end

And the book ends with a bang and a lot of leftover questions.  My first reaction is that I can’t get over Pynchon spent so much time in the last 60 pages talking about things that had nothing to do with the “plot” per se.  I never really felt like the story was all that hard to follow until the end, when Pynchon let loose the dogs of war on his writing.  There are several pages of stream of consciousness reverie where I was completely at a loss.  Of course, this has been true for much of the book–Pynchon would talk about something and then cycle back into it, filling in the gaps that he left open.  The whole book seemed to have this kind of coiled effect (perhaps a slinky). He would set up a scene as if you had been there all along.  And while you were puzzling over just who the hell he was talking about, he would flashback to whatever you needed to fill in the missing pieces.  And he is still doing that as the story comes to a close.

And although it starts out with a familiar figure, he quickly takes something and has a massive hallucination.  Is this even true? (more…)

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