Wood Burning

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Lost Gem Of 1973: "Blondel"

Have you ever come across a band or artist, whose name and records you've seen for years, but have somehow never heard a single note of music? One band that comes to mind is Wishbone Ash. I really have no idea what they sound like and just the other day, a friend told me the same thing. He decided to listen to what is regarded as their best, "Argus," and gave it a thumbs up. (I think I'll check it out.)

Up until a few years ago, I had never heard a single note of music from Amazing Blondel, though I admit, their name and catalogue hadn't been as prevalent as Wishbone Ash. I purchased a record collection which included a half dozen Amazing Blondel records.

This is what Wikipedia has to say-

Amazing Blondel are an English acoustic progressive folk band, containing Eddie Baird, John Gladwin, and Terry Wincott. They released a number of LPs for Island Records in the early 1970s. They are sometimes categorised as Psych folk or as Medieval folk rock, but their music was much more a reinvention of Renaissance music, based around the use of period instruments such as lutes and recorders.

And Bruce Eder opens his bio of the band on AMG with this line, "One of England's more unusual rock outfits of the 1970s, Amazing Blondel were a trio whose members played instruments dating from medieval to Elizabethan times, and songs styled to those periods.

Both of these descriptions are accurate and the records, if you happen to dig this brand of British folk, are quite enjoyable.

But it was 1973's "Blondel" that really spoke to me. I found these words, written by Keneth Levene, on a blog:

"In the broad brush world of progressive rock and its many sub genres, the transitional album is a fascinating beast. Some of the best offerings in history could be so described, as the band has its feet in two eras, the one past and well documented, the other in a yet unrealized future.

In the realm of these denizens, "Blondel" is the representative from Amazing Blondel and, depending on your taste, you might regard it as their best. Because it is not quite as unique as their previous efforts, I cannot quite succumb to such platitudes, but suffice to say it is definitely up there."

In as few words as possible, "Blondel" reminds me of what Emitt Rhodes would have done had he played more guitar and less piano.

This is a beautiful piece of work. The albums that followed got further away from the unique sound of earlier records like "England" and Fantasia Lindum," both worth checking out, as long as you know what you're in for. But 1973's "Blondel," seems to nail it, at least to my ears.

Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Steve Winwood, all make appearances, if that means anything to you.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Songs Of The Week 7.0: 3/21-3/27

I've Got Something On My Mind- The Left Banke
Don't Drop Out- Dolly Parton
Zona Sul- Rosalia De Souza
The Likes Of You- Jon Auer
The Bed I Made- Bonnie Raitt
Lover, You Should Have Come Over- Jeff Buckley
(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night- Tom Waits


Friday, March 27, 2015

The Weekend Mix, 3/27/15

One of my very first "only in New Orleans" moments occurred in 2000. At the back of the French Quarter, just a few blocks from where the neighborhood becomes The Marigny, is a small shack of a restaurant called Fiorella's, whose claim to fame is the fried chicken and bingo in the back room. This isn't a food blog, so I will keep the chicken hyperbole to a minimum, but DAMN! It was the best I had ever eaten. (This was 2000 and it was never the same after the original owners sold it in 2005.)

This back room with condiment baskets on each table and bingo boards on the wall, faced the Mississippi River and just sitting there in those surroundings was special. And then of course, there was the music. It wasn't being played in the restaurant, but coming from a sound system somewhere else. Distant enough to give it some reverb and just a slightly haunting feeling, but close enough to enjoy every tune. It was in Fiorella's back room, as I waited for my chicken, where I heard the genius trifecta of the Rolling Stones' "Dandelion," "Susan's House" by Eels and "O Sole Mio" by Wingy Manone, a native New Orleanian. It was then that I fell in love WWOZ, the local radio station. What programming!

15 years later, I still think about it and well...this mix was built around that.

That's all I got.



2040- Spy Mob
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago- The Yardbirds
Tell Me Your Plans- The Shirts
Dandelion- Rolling Stones
Susan's House- Eels
O Sole Mio- Wingy Manone
What's Now Is Now- Cake
Big Yellow Taxi- Lindsey Buckingham
I Wish You Would- JD McPherson
Never Mind- The Replacements
Splendor In The Grass- Jackie DeShannon
No More Tearstained Makeup- Martha & The Vandellas
Waterfalls- Sloan
Subterranean Homesick Blues- Rickie Lee Jones


Thursday, March 26, 2015

And Then There Were Two: The London Souls Are Back

I know it wasn't the first time I had written about The London Souls, but this piece explains a lot. Please refresh your memories.

Now, the band is back (with only Tash & Chris, front and center) with a new record dropping soon, and a single, "When I'm With You," which is above for your listening pleasure.

This new track is right in my wheelhouse, and while it's only slightly reminiscent of the fiery trio I witnessed live those years ago, I'll take it. I loved these guys from day one and I look forward to the full length next month.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Here We Go Again

Mojo magazine gives Tobias Jesso Jr.'s new record 4 stars and compares him to Paul McCartney. Uncut magazine gives Tobias Jesso Jr.'s new record an 8 out of 10 rating and compares him to Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson.

I gave Tobias Jesso Jr.'s new record a chance, got very angry at Mojo and Uncut, and listened to early Paul McCartney, Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson instead.

Ending a song on a major 7th chord doesn't make Oasis, the Beatles and making a piano album without autotune and 27 producers doesn't make you Randy Newman.

Keep moving. There's nothing to see here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

And More On The Left Banke

In the wake of the Left Banke leader Michael Brown's passing, I have of course, been listening to the Left Banke. Though as I said in the earlier post, I have always been listening to the Left Banke.

That debut record is barely a half hour long and their follow-up, "The Left Banke Too," has very little to do with Michael Brown. There are two very good records by the Stories, but the band's only hit, "Brother Louie," was not written by Michael Brown. Another Brown project was "Montage." Good record, but...so what? The Beckies? Anyone?

So how does someone get labelled "genius" based on 28 minutes of music? And in reality, it's more like 10 minutes of "hit" music? More of a conundrum is, I'm not disputing it.

Even if the Left Banke's debut is not your cup of tea and you are not quite on board with Michael Brown's "genius," I still pose the following question-

How many other debut records, by a single artist or band, have had such a powerful and lasting impact, without a follow-up and without getting tossed into a forgettable pile of one-hit wonders?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Songs Of The Week 7.0: 3/14-3/20

That Means A Lot- Robin Zander
Keep Me Turning- Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane
Gudbuy T'Jane- Slade
Shame- Eurythmics
Trouble On Double Time- Free
Elvis Presley Blues- Gillian Welch
The Senator's Daughter- Fountains Of Wayne