Thursday, June 11, 2015

Random Thoughts On Random Play

I took a long-ish train trip yesterday and (mostly) enjoyed 90 minutes of random play on the iPod.

Got to hear The Eagles "New Kid In Town" for the first time in ages. Say what you want about Henley and Frey and their gigantic, punchable heads, but that song is gorgeous.

Heard a tune from Fleetwood Mac's "Mystery To Me." What a shitty sounding record that was.

Heard "It's Breaking Me Up" from Tull's "This Was," which prompted me to play the whole damn album when I got home. When was the last time you played that record? Do yourself a favor--give yourself an "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" swipe so you can forget every time you heard "Aqualung" and "Locomotive Breath" and listen to Clive Bunker's swinging drumming and Mick Abrahams guitar playing on what is one of the best and most unique albums of the 60s.

Heard a tune called "A Man Without A Woman" that I did not recognize. I finally had to look, about two minutes in. A Pete Townshend demo. Meh.

Heard some goofy, disco-fied rock number, very 70s sounding with a voice I couldn't place and some really bad over-drumming. It was "Child Of Flames" by the Walker Brothers. (Boy, they were really hit or miss, weren't they?)

But the biggest surprise was the "Kinks Kontroversy" outtake above. "And I Will Love You" knocked me out. So simple and yet so beautiful. And what a strange little arrangement, to boot.


William Repsher said...

Regardless of whether or not they were jerks, The Eagles had a lot of great tracks. I don't care if the Coen Brothers tapped into that hip "hate the Eagles" vibe in The Big Lebowski ... those guys brought it, routinely. And they didn't "lose it" when Bernie Leadon left and the band veered more pop/rock. Adding Felder and Walsh was a tremendous boost, and I find myself listening to their tracks as much as the Henley/Frey classics.

I'm trying something new with the iPod: song ratings, but only five-star songs. I have 30,000 tracks to sort through ... it's a task. The gist is chosing only songs that ring true/really hit me hard over the years, songs that I go back to routinely, search out, stop myself and look to see who's playing for more recent tracks. (It's much harder for me to memorize artists and song title with more recent jazz, classical, African, Celtic, etc. -- these tracks aren't burned into my psyche the way The Beatles or Bowie are.)

Through the K's, and I have about 1,500 tracks already. It's stunning to realize that over the course of a lifetime, there are this many songs that I love ... but times marches on, over the course of decades, if you keep listening, songs keep coming. Granted, a vast majority are 1960's through 1980/s, but there's been plenty of other stuff along the way.

This is why there are such things as consensus and informed opinions with music ... am I supposed to believe some kind with a thousand tracks on his iPhone has anywhere near the grasp of music that I do? I can look back to when I was a teenager and recognize my tastes were profoundly limited to whatever was on AOR radio or in Creem/Rolling Stone. It's a bit of a wake up call to respect myself ... at least when it comes to music. I know what the hell I'm talking about!

Anonymous said...

i'm guilty of regarding the Eagles as a symbol of excess, but I've been fond of "New Kid in Town" ever since hearing Chris Hillman, in an interview not too many years ago, refer to Gram Parsons in those exact words.

that Kinks track reminds me "Australia" off of Arthur.

the weird thing about Mystery to Me is that it's the only album from Then Play On to the self-titled one with Buckingham Nicks that actually had the same personnel from the previous record, and was band-produced with Martin Birch as engineer, like most of their albums from that period.

whattawino said...

I'm so glad you mentioned Jethro Tull's debut, 'This Was' .....a huge album that still gets me going every listen. The rhythm section of Clive Bunker and Glenn Cornick is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Add the guitarist Mick Abrahams and of course, Mr Anderson and stand back, people. They were always amazing to see live too. I'm putting it on right now!

Anonymous said...

I love that Kinks track. Weirdly anticipates Prince's "Kiss."

Bruce H

Matthew Goldberg said...

Thanks for the shout out for "This Was," a seminal album of my misbegotten youth. May have played that as much as the first Led Zeppelin album. Haven't listened to it in its entirety in a while but put Cats Squirrel on a mix not too long back and felt the same very testosterone or whatever it is that courses through a 17 year old's veins when listening to it now. Great stuff.

hpunch said...

A long, long time ago on Burning Wood you begged all your readers to shuffle our Ipods with the promise of bewitching wonders. Since your suggestion I do that at least once a week and it never fails to reintroduce me to songs that somehow slipped from my mind and albums I hardly even knew I owned. Your posts about practicing this fine art are the ones I look most forward to.

As soon I hit "publish" I'm tracking down that Tull album.

Frank M. Young said...

The Random function on iTunes has taught me that all genres of music have something in common. This is mostly how I listen to music anymore, and it agrees with me. Bluegrass followed by R&B followed by British Invasion followed by modern jazz? Sure!