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Cds, back from vacation

Ashley and I went to Niagara Falls, Ontario over the weekend, I listened to Cds in the car, and by all accounts I should include them in this compendium, but the listening experience is too different, to diffuse to include; it wouldn’t be fair to all the CDs I listen to on my boom box, or through headphones on my laptop. So, back at home: 16) Mogwai: Happy Songs for Happy People I think this is the only Mogwai CD I own; no, maybe I have a live one somewhere. In any case, no one needs more than one, not that it isn’t a good cd, but–they make film music, lush and surging, and mostly sans lyrics, though there is some vocodor vocalizing going on here. The absence of understandable lyrical content is not a problem, but the absence of consistantly strong melodic content is, and so the more new-agey, meandering passages really suffer from the absence of lyrics. Or from the absence of a movie to make the abstract parts more interesting. The abstract parts could be more interesting, instead of simply being set-ups for the big, emotionally sweeping parts, but for the most part, they ain’t. Good to…
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Lockport bars

Using “bars” to mean any place that sells liquor for imbibing on premises,–: All the Bars in Lockport, 1: Finnan’s Has an old streetlight, a picture of an astronuat, and 16 televisions, give or take. A sports bar that also has a late night crowd, cover bands on the weekends playing only songs a senatorial majority of the crowd will know, and ok food–not recently killed or anything, but you know. People smoking outside. Nice glass of Jamesons.

CDs–this is going to take a while

At the rate I’m going, I should be done listening to all the CDs in… 2011. Holy crap, I better speed it up–or not, I kind of like this pace. 14) The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy Hard to believe this caused an uproar when it was released (1985), but then the pop landscape in 1985 was defined by Wham!, Madonna, “We Are The World,” and in the UK, Paul Hardcastle and Jennifer Rush. So, feedbacky three-chord drowse-pop must have seemed pretty cutting edge. Still a good album, though they basically play the same 3 or 4 songs over and over; Wire deserved the kind of success theses boys had, really. (bonus: “I get head on my motorbike / I feel so good in my leather boots”; never could figure out how that worked…) 15) kd lang: Hymns of the 49th Parallel One of my favorite kd lang recordings, marries that lush yet tasteful Ben Mink production with songs by Canadian songwriters (Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Ron Sexsmith, Jane Siberry, and Bruce Cockburn). Her blend of control and warmth is startling, and makes me swoon on just about every song; hell, I even love her version of “Helpless,”…
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Ah yes, it’s time to listen to the last 3 of my grandfather’s CDs. If they were all mixed in with the rest of the cds I would still know they were his, because where else would I get a Lawrence Welk CD? (poor justification–I probably have another one somewhere), and because each one has a label on it, on of those free return address labels that non-profit organizations send you to encourage your donation. I can picture him figuring this out, looking at the sheet of return address labels, the fourth or fifth sheet he’d gotten in the mail that month, and thinking, “I could stick these on my cd cases, and then if someone steals’em I can get’em back!” But I didn’t steal’em, I pillaged’em, I guess; what is it called when relatives sort through the stuff the deceased has left and portion it out? I don’t mean the legal term… ah well. Almost done: 11) Burl Ives: Burl Ives Poor Burl didn’t even warrant a CD title from the Beautiful Music Company, apparently. Burl rivals James Earl Jones for most ubiquitous yet unattributed voice of the past 50 years, I think, though Burl (as Sam the Snowman…
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Ok, still on Grandpa’s short stack of music: 9) Vera Lynn: For All WWII Sweethearts! No, Roger Waters, I don’t remember Vera Lynn, at least not the way you mean on The Wall. And really, neither do you, since you were born in 1943 and “We’ll Meet Again” was released in 1942. But it is a great song, and I remember singing it on a well-oiled evening with a group of people who also did not remember Vera that way. 2 cds, nice enough to play while making dinner, and her version of “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” is pleasant . The whole experience made me want a gibson and some tongue in aspic. (bonus: The end of Dr Strangelove, and I also found out that “Vera” is cockney rhyming slang for “gin” (rhymes with “Lynn”). 10) The Wonderful Sound of An Accordion Band: Accordion Party. Wow, accordions! In an airplane hanger! Or at least it sounds like an airplane hanger, the reverb is HUGE and there are 4 or 5 accordions going at once and then, way, way in the back, is a drummer and a standup bass and a piano player. The reverb makes it,…
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Cds + Snuka

My short essay about going to see Jimmy Snuka wrassle is up at Gloom Cupboard (I’m at the bottom of the page). Continuing with my Grandfather’s CDs: 7) Lawrence Welk: 22 Great Songs For Dancing. Yes, this is what prozac must sound like. Or, as my lovely wife put it, “this is soul-sucking, life-killing, vapid noise meant to turn you into a Republican.” A certain kind of Republican, anyway. (bonus: it’s over!) 8] Paddy Reilly: Live This one was pretty good, actually; I was worried the production would be soul-sucking and life-killing, but for the most part the band just stayed out of Paddy’s way. Some cheesy synths did almost ruin “Carrickfergus,” but otherwise, sparse and fairly moving. (bonus: a cover of “Deportees” (Arlo Guthrie) reminded me how clearly anti-Brown People the debate over immigration is–no one is complaining about all the illegal Irish anymore….)

CD Collection: Yikes…

I started this project (listening to very CD I own) with a stack sitting on a speaker in our living room, and while the first 2 were excellent, the rest of the pile consists of CDs I got when my Grandfather died; I tok all his LPs too, and just grabbed the CDs without thinking. Without thinking I’d ever have to listen to them, that is. I knew there would be rough patches, might as well get it over now. 3) Al Hirt and Ace Cannon: Help Me Make It Through the Night. Or, Help Me Make It Through this CD of muzaky versions of very bad songs: “Rhinestone Cowboy.” “Games People Play.” Makes me want to go buy a TV dinner. (bonus: it’s pretty short. And the liner notes, which say that Al is good at talking about “the moving symbology of a negro jazz funeral.”) 4) Bruce & Dina & Duane Prill: Celebrate! Music For Two Trumpets and Organ. A collection of every overplayed classical piece they could cram on a CD, as played by, you guessed it, and organists and 2 trumpets. Fine for background music as I moved some furniture, though every once in a while…
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CD’s cont’d

Still working through Nina Simone, should have more time to listen this weekend. CD 3 had some gems I forgot about, highlighted by her versions of “O-o-oh Child” (5 Stairsteps) and “The Pusher” (Hoyt Axton, Steppenwolf did a well-known cover). I was quite lucky to catch Nina an her US tour just before she passed away… she left the US in 1970 and didn’t return to tour until 2002, though she visited for other things. She also ” fired a gun at a record company executive whom she accused of stealing royalties” (according to this interview). RIght on. Not that I advocate shooting record execs anymore, they are kind of pathetic now, an endangered species, like John Birchers and people who like Orangina.

Ah, that’s what all those cd’s are for…

My wife asked me last night how long it would take to listen to all the cd’s we have, if I listened for 8 hours a day. After some silent arithmetic that took far too long, I decided 200 days would be a good guess, which means I guessed 1600 cd’s. We laughed at my hoarding for a while, and then inspiration struck: why be so fuzzy about the number, why not listen to them all? I already have decided to gradually visit every bar in Lockport, so this project, also an exercise in pointless completism, will give me something to do at home. Listening in the car doesn’t count, I decided, and every cd must be played in it’s entirety, though I don’t have to “actively” listen to each one; I have to be in the room, but I can do other things whilst listening, like blogging about it. So: I am starting at the cd tower in the fireplace room downstairs, and am listening upstairs through a desktop computer plugged into a PA system I bought for $50 in Atlanta from a church. 1) Handsome Boy Modeling School: So… How’s Your Girl? This was first because I just…
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The suburbs

An interesting discussion on the freakonomics blog: future of the suburbs I’ve lived in suburbs and always found it a soul-draining experience, but lots of people seem to like them. Another example of how the internet lets us see into the thought processes of people whose existence we may have begun to suspect was a media ploy.