Friday, September 15, 2017

Stuff: 9/15/17

There is a new Sparks record out called "Hippopotamus" that I think is quite brilliant, and yet I am struggling to write about it, other than to say, it might be one of the best records of their career and of the year.

The Rails, who put out my favorite record of 2014 and 2015,  "Fair Warning," have just released "Other People," which is failing, at least after four solid spins, to do what "Fair Warning" did for me. Again, I've tried to expand on this for a week now and cannot, other than to say, it's just okay.

I read a glowing review in Mojo about a new live record from Steve Winwood called "Greatest Hits Live." It's just the type of package I can live without- a compilation of live tracks, with no information at all. No dates. No venues. Nothing. Yet, I was intrigued by the review and by the very low price for a 4 LP set, so I impulsively grabbed a copy...after a few cocktails. It arrived yesterday and boy, if it isn't as wonderful as Jeff Tamarkin says it is in Mojo. Heavy on Traffic tunes, a stellar band, and a fantastic recording. I have to say, this is really the surprise hit of the summer. The tunes are faithful, yet reworked enough to keep things exciting. Two Blind Faith tunes, a Buddy Miles cover and Spencer Davis tracks, all really cook.

There is also a new Neil Finn record out, which is monumental for me. I listened once with headphones and was not moved to go back a second time. I don't believe this is the end of this story. My hard copy has been pre-ordered and I will begin again when it arrives.

I've been binge-listening to Frank Zappa after not listening to Frank Zappa for years and years, no thanks to someone I know who played so much Zappa that he made me hate Zappa. I'm over it, finally, and these new Zappa releases, remastered from original analog tapes by Chris Bellman and Bernie Grundman are simply stunning.

I hope to snap out of this malaise and post on a more regular basis. Until then, these short bursts are all I've got.

Grant Hart, R.I.P.


buzzbabyjesus said...

I also acquired the Stevie Winwood. "Greatest Hits Live" usually, unless it's King Crimson, doesn't do it for me. But Stevie is an amazing all round musician, he's credited on about a dozen instruments, the track list indeed Traffic heavy, and not too many other people in the band.
I haven't really listened to it yet. I went straight to "The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys", found the big hook, and everything seems to be in place. I'm kind of looking forward to the later hits, like "Roll With it" in this format.

Charlie Messing said...

Nice call on Winwood - listened to clips just now - he is as good as ever, better in some ways, and truly great live recording too. Nice to hear Gimme Some Lovin with all the passion, a great arrangement and no nagging tambourine. Every sample was a delight. Five stars.
I also look forward to "Absolutely Free" - thanks!

richeye said...

I spent last summer (2016) touring with him and had a blast every night. He's every bit as nice as his voice is brilliant. I got to tease him regularly about being sloppy with his lyrics (singing wrong verses, leaving others out), which he blamed on Jimmy Miller for writing too many words in the songs they co-wrote. Lovely fellow indeed. As to your comment about the lack of information, I suspect the answer lies somewhere in the carrying costs of albums nowadays. If he listed proper concert credits, he could be retroactively charged by any unions that might have jurisdiction and not received their "combat" pay for recordings done on their calls. Just a guess, mind you.

Noam Sane said...

"One Size Fits All" gets my vote as one of the most beautifully-produced records of the 20th century. And tuneful as fuck. Golden-era Frank.

Sal Nunziato said...

@Noam, in a separate thread on Facebook, I pointed out that it was "One Size Fits All" that led me to these new reissues. I also said, it was one of the best pieces of vinyl I have ever heard.

Chris Collins said...

I've been so busy I have barely been able to keep up with anything. I had no idea Grant Hart died!!! That's terrible!

have you heard the new Living Colour record?