Tuesday, October 8, 2013
If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Street Date: 10/8/13
ROY HARPER- MAN & MYTH
My first experience with Roy Harper was 1975's "HQ," an album that I was mostly interested in because of who was on it. It was Bill Bruford, Dave Gilmour and Chris Spedding that caught my eyes and ears. It just happened to be Roy's album. Of course, there was also the Led Zeppelin endorsement. Since then, I've tried countless times to get Harper's music. It hasn't been easy, but once I did, it paid back in spades.
What kept going through my head as I listened to "Man & Myth" were comments by readers & friends, both here and other places, about their listening habits. The basic sentiment? "If I don't like something right away, I just can't find the time to keep trying." Most recently it was about the Elvis Costello & The Roots record, but over these iPod and iTunes years, it's been said about a number of records. It seems our listening habits have changed and our patience is at a premium. But I'll save that for a future post.
"Man & Myth" is not a pop record. It does not consist of three minute blasts with hooks and choruses. You can't work out to it, unless you're some truly demented trainer. But it is sprawling and beautiful and if you're even slightly familiar with Roy Harper's work, you will recognize immediately how little his sound has aged. It's all here, the epic guitar playing, the storytelling, the big arrangements, the sorrow and the pity. "Man & Myth" is a fantastic return to form for Harper.
ELTON JOHN- THE DIVING BOARD
Every review I've read about Elton John's "The Diving Board" has called it his "best record in 30 years." I just don't get it. It seems irresponsible to toss off comparisons to "Tumbleweed Connection" simply because it doesn't resemble any of the absolute dreck Elton's been churning out since 1980. "The Diving Board" doesn't sound like "Tumbleweed Connection" at all. Yes, it's a toned down affair, with some interesting stories from Bernie Taupin and the usual rote production of T-Bone Burnett. But it's still Elton at 66 and his voice has limited range and these songs just don't deliver the same magical melodies Elton used to write in his sleep. It's a lugubrious listen that did nothing for me.
I'd also like to say that 2004's "Peachtree Road" was a fantastic record that does indeed resemble "Tumbleweed Connection," if anyone cares to give that a spin.
THE WOOD BROTHERS- THE MUSE
Most likely to end up on the top of my year-end "Best" list is the new one from The Wood Brothers. I saw The Wood Brothers live and they knocked my socks off. I've been a fan ever since and "The Muse" is the perfect place to begin if you're unfamiliar with this band. They have it all from stellar musicianship to tight, Everlys-like harmonies to great, great songs. Check'em out.
THE STRYPES- SNAPSHOT
Another record that is getting raves from the British press is from those youngsters called The Strypes. "Snapshot" has been described as the type of R&B you might hear at The Cavern, circa 1965. This is true. "Snapshot" does indeed sound like everyone from early Beatles to The Animals. But mostly, it sounds like The Who doing Tamla covers, which wasn't really The Who's strong point. Not a bad record and the Strypes certainly have their hearts in the right place. It's just that "Snapshot" wears thin very quickly. My fave track is below.
JULES SHEAR- LONGER TO GET TO YESTERDAY
Last but not least, a brand new Jules Shear record has quietly been released. I have not yet heard it, but I did indeed order it. And you can, too. Jules has been a favorite of mine for years and I expect "Longer To Get To Yesterday" to be another solid addition to his fine body of work. Buy it HERE and tell them Sal sent you.