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Jimi Hendrix – Live at Woodstock

22 09 2010

Listened: Friday September 3

Jimi says Live at Woodstock is the sound of a new band “just jamming”. Anyone in a professional band probably gets a little annoyed when they hear that – when Jimi “just jams” he blows everyone out of the water. Even while he’s high (someone in the audience asks him if he is and he confirms).

I remember seeing the Woodstock movie when I was a teenager and hanging my mouth open at Jimi’s part of the film. I saw all the moves and tricks and I still said “Wait, how does he do that?”

This is one of my favorite work albums. The jams and grooves are so long they help with concentration. I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing the Star Spangled Banner coming out of my office by now.

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Jefferson Airplane – Live At The Fillmore East

22 09 2010

Listened: Friday September 3

As turbulent their relationships might have been, Jefferson Airplane made some amazing music together, and Live At The Fillmore East captures them while they still were more or less functional as a band. Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon captures that function quite well.

I love all the guitar work Jorma Kaukonan does on Thing and Fat Angel. I don’t enjoy so much what they did to Today. It’s sooooo slowed dooooown. It was a slow song in the first place, and I don’t know why it needed to get slower. Grace does a little bit too much scat singing in places too, but then, that’s what she does, given that she doesn’t really have a singer’s voice.

Oh, and this is a brilliant album cover. It took me a second to get it.





The Beatles – Live At The BBC

22 09 2010

Listened: Friday September 3

If you love the early Beatles, Live At The BBC will fulfill all your harmonic needs. I appreciate that this album lets you into what the Beatles must have sounded like on the Reeperbahn – American rock and roll, loud and rough, but adeptly played (assuming they weren’t inebriated).

They cover all the important rock writers from the 50s and early 60s, but I wish they had done more Buddy Holly. Crying, Waiting, Hoping is a standout. On a related note, I wish George had simply done more singing on these songs too. The few he leads are great, impressive considering he was just a baby at the time.

Paul knocks it out of the park with The Honeymoon Song and John’s treatment of Phil Spector’s To Know Her is To Love Her is another favorite. Wonder if it would have blown their minds to know that they’d be working with Phil later on Let It Be?





Morrissey – Live At Earl’s Court

22 09 2010

Listened: Thursday September 2

I love that Moz has released a live album, but unless you can see him whipping the mic cord around and interacting with the audience, it’s just not quite the same! So much of his performance badassery is physical movement and flirting with the audience.

His stage presence is what I imagine Frank Sinatra’s to have been. Very professional, but at the same time much more interactive than “cool” bands usually are. Many bands don’t seem comfortable enough to relax and accept being a professional musician. They want to project an image that they’re just normal people who happen to be singing or they’re too insecure about being cool enough that they spend their time being aloof. With Morrissey, there is none of that. He knows he’s a goddamn singer, in the best way.

I’m glad he did a cover of Redondo Beach – it’s so appropriate for his style I didn’t realize at first it was a cover; I thought it was a b-side I didn’t know about.

I remember back in 2002 before Morrissey’s modern comeback a friend and I kind of randomly decided to go see him in Fresno and then in Berkeley. To this day, the Fresno show was the most surprising show I have ever been to. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t what I got. I knew his singles from the radio, but I didn’t realize how crazy his shows can be, what with the stage crashers trying to get a piece of him. Also, it was one of the more diverse crowds I have ever been in, especially odd in a place like Fresno. There were straight people, gay people, old people, young people, goths, punks, nondescripts, white, black, Asian, Latino (the cult of Morrissey is writ large amongst Latinos)… everyone was there.

I’ve seen him quite a few times since, but nothing has matched those memorable first shows. Morrissey is the man, and I wish I had known that sooner.





Bob Dylan – Live 1975 – The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5)

22 09 2010

Listened: Thursday September 2

Bob is a welcome breath of fresh air after Lifted.

Despite being really fond of the original versions of Bob’s songs, all the jazzed up versions on Live 1975 are fun in a different way. It Ain’t Me, Babe, I Shall Be Released, and Just Like a Woman in particular are transformed very positively. This is my first exposure to the songs from the Desire album, which I don’t own. I particularly love One More Cup of Coffee and Romance in Durango.

Like the audience member who shouts his appreciation during the show, I also love the violin player (who supposedly was discovered for the tour just walking down the street with her violin case). Joan and Bob do a better job singing together than in the early days, though to be honest, still not excellently.

I have fond memories of drunkenly singing along loudly to this album in Woody’s car as he was driving us home from a party. I usually don’t sing loudly in front of other people, but he was either lucky enough or unfortunate enough to witness it!





Bright Eyes – Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground

22 09 2010

Listened: Thursday September 2

Because I love I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning so much, I’m loathe to say it, but Lifted made me want to kill myself. The first few tracks especially. It’s just too depressing for listening at a job that doesn’t uplift me. Listening to it twice through was like self-torture.

Sorry, Conor (and all the hipsters out there who now will consider me a “normal”).





Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit

22 09 2010

Listened Thursday September 2

There are some earworms on The Life Pursuit (Funny Little Frog, For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea) but B&S’s heyday has passed, I think. Nice melodies and the occasional odd lyric show up here, but the spark is gone.