Category Archives: CD

Bitchin’

Busy, busy, busy time at work means that I’ve been away from the keyboard…….but today I’ve found a brief period of time (in-between getting the house Christmas ready and prepping for work tomorrow) to chuck a few words down.

So (besides work) what have I been up to?

  • Saw Caro Emerald in concert…..more of that in a future post
  • Learnt that I’m marvellous at karaoke in my mind but that video seems to tell a different story. I’m certain that my singing “In The Ghetto” with the Divine Ms W, or my contribution to “Spice Up Your Life” with the Vivacious Ms N and Crazy Mr A were much better than the evidence suggests……….
  • Numerous meals out, discovered a number of new bands to add to my ‘must see’ list (have I talked about Brunt before? Don’t think so, I’ll rectify soon) and decided that I really must make the trek to Café Oto at some point to check the place out.

Interestingly it was talking about Café Oto (whist waiting for the damn work printer to do its thing) that reminded me that I needed to write about this CD as the Regal Ms H mentioned that she was looking to get into Jazz.

I’m not certain about Jazz, it seems to be a genre that doesn’t invite newcomers, you need to know the secret and ‘get it’ before you’re welcome in. I’ve tried listening before and, whilst I might enjoy the spectacle of it live, I can’t get a handle on all the aural noodling around that flows from the speakers.

So with this in mind at the start of November I decided to try a backdoor into the world of Jazz through Miles Davis. I knew his reputation and I knew that on “Bitches Brew” he had redefined aspects of it by using instruments more readily associated with rock music (e.g.  electric keyboards and guitar). Maybe, just maybe, this would help me ‘get it’….

And to a certain extent it worked. This is no rock album by anyone’s definition, the improvisation, changes in tempo and the sound of different instruments playing off of each other can only be Jazz, but it has given me the way in.

Some of it I don’t get –

  • “Pharaoh’s Dance” is a lot (and I do mean a lot, it’s 20 minutes long) of noodling to my ears

But most of it I do, my standout tracks –

  • “Bitches Brew” 27 minutes long but there’s a theme running through it that my unjazzified mind needs and appreciates hearing
  • “Spanish Key” for me the most accessible piece – probably because it’s the closest thing to a structured rock track on the album

I know that I’ve a long way to go, as I try to understand what the hell is going on, but at least this shows me that there is a way through and hopefully, one day all will become clear…….

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970) – CD

  • Pharaoh’s Dance
  • Bitches Brew
  • Spanish Key
  • John McLaughlin
  • Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
  • Sanctuary
  • Feio (Bonus Track)

Rate – 4/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 30, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 19, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 692, Time: 52h 35m 14s

Way Out On The Kokomo

For years I only knew Chuck Berry for his totally atypical 1970s hit My Ding-A-Ling. I’d heard that he was meant to be some sort of rock pioneer but I couldn’t get away from the singalong, Bamforth postcard style lyrics that had been dropped in my brain at a young age.

Eventually in was inevitable that classics such as Johnny B Goode would work their way through my wall of denial and misconception. And whilst the songs are rocking you can also hear on occasion the seaside humour that went just to far on My D-A-L but can be forgiven when you consider classics such as No Particular Place to Go –

No particular place to go
So we parked way out on the Kokomo
The night was young and the moon was gold
So we both decided to take a stroll
Can you imagine the way I felt?
I couldn’t unfasten her safety belt!

This budget CD was bought ahead of a long drive down through France and unfortunately, if truth be told, I find it just too draining to play through in one sitting (car seat or otherwise). The is too much in the way of similarity between a lot of the songs and they tend to blend together in my brain, turning into just a sonic wall of Chuck Berry………

However picking the occasional track from the CD and mixing/matching with other artists works just fine.

Chuck Berry – 20 Great Tracks (1992) – CD

  • Maybellene
  • Roll Over Beethoven
  • Reelin’ and Rockin’
  • Rock and Roll Music
  • Sweet Little Sixteen
  • Johnny B. Goode
  • No Particular Place to Go
  • Memphis Tennessee
  • Wee Wee Hours
  • You Never Can Tell
  • Go Go Go
  • Downbound Train
  • No Money Down
  • Havana Moon
  • House of Blue Lights
  • Crying Steel
  • I’m Just a Lucky So and So
  • Promised Land
  • My Mustang Ford
  • Drifting Heart

Rate – 4/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 29, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 19, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 685, Time: 50h 49m 12s

There’s A Fire Within My Soul

When compared with a lot of my listening shared to date this seems relatively atypical but if you knew my history you’d understand that’s the point of a lot of music I listen to.

Whilst it was Hawkwind and In Search of Space that made me realise that there was more to music than what I heard in the charts, it was ABBA that made me realise I was being pretentious when telling people what I liked.

It was the mid 80s, I was in my late teens and I was lying in hospital ‘under observation’. I had collapsed at home the previous day and ‘under observation’ meant that they didn’t have the faintest idea what was wrong with me but they thought I may have a brain tumour – if I collapsed again in controlled surroundings they could congratulate themselves on guessing right, if I didn’t there would be a lot of scratching heads. (In fact I didn’t collapse, they did scratch heads, they couldn’t find anything, they prescribed medication, I refused it on the grounds that they didn’t know what they were talking about and 30+ years later I’m still around hale and hearty).

But back then I was lying in bed, everyone had gone home and there was a genuine view (medical and personal) that I might only have very limited time left. I promised myself at that point that I wouldn’t live my life based on other’s expectations but on what I wanted, and needed, to do. It sounds like some sort of grand gesture now but it wasn’t, it was just a statement of fact that initially focused on one minor point – admitting to the sort of music I liked. I vividly remember lying there and thinking “why can’t I admit that I like listening to pop music like ABBA, pop music by definition is ‘popular’ so what’s wrong with it?”

And so began my eclectic progression through the world of music – nothing’s out of bounds and it’s solely my decision whether I like it or not, life’s too short to waste on worrying……….

And this CD is full of catchy, singalong, memorable songs that most people know (whether they realise it or not). Big night out in a few weeks complete with karaoke, who knows I may have a stab at one of these tracks (after all if Pierce Brosnan can do it……….)

Abba – Gold: Greatest Hits (1992) – CD

  • Dancing Queen
  • Knowing Me, Knowing You
  • Take a Chance on Me
  • Mamma Mia
  • Lay All Your Love on Me
  • Super Trouper
  • I Have a Dream
  • The Winner Takes It All
  • Money, Money, Money
  • S.O.S.
  • Chiquitita
  • Fernando
  • Voulez-Vous
  • Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
  • Does Your Mother Know
  • One of Us
  • The Name of the Game
  • Thank You for the Music
  • Waterloo

Rate – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 28, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 19, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 665, Time: 49h 55m 02s

Humphrey, We’re Leaving

This CD was on quick turnaround in the car during a recent week away – unfortunately not because it was a favourite but due to the lack of CDs available (my fault……)

When Mika first emerged with “Grace Kelly” he seemed like a breathe of fresh air into the turgid ‘popular music scene’, unfortunately this was a view that seemed to decrease with each subsequent release and he rapidly fell off of my personal radar.

Wind forward 8 years and I invested a couple of £s in this CD that I saw in a charity shop – was it worth it? Well yes and no………….

He’s definitely a talented musician and can write songs but in recording this CD he should have been reigned in – there needs to be a flow between tracks when you’re listening to music, that’s missing here it’s all over the place. I’ve heard “Life In Cartoon Motion” being referred to as ‘cartoon rock’ but that gives it too much credence and in reality a good dose of quality control would have made this a much better release.

Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion (2007) – CD

  • Grace Kelly
  • Lollipop
  • My Interpretation
  • Love Today
  • Relax (Take It Easy)
  • Any Other World
  • Billy Brown
  • Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)
  • Stuck in the Middle
  • Happy Ending
  • Over My Shoulder
  • Ring Ring

Rate – 2/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 27, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 17, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 623, Time: 47h 10m 37s 49

14 Years Behind The Times

Not saying that I’m behind the times but I played this for the first time last week – a freebie from 14 years ago and it’s only just worked its way into my CD player.

A select of tracks from 2001 a number of which I love and I’ve only just discovered now. That could be seen as depressing but I prefer to look on the positive side – I’ve got so much music to work through I’ll be finding new gems for the rest of my life.

So my two new ‘go to’ tracks on this CD? They are –

Aerodynamic by Daft Punk. Now I know that DP are big but this is the first thing I’ve ever knowingly heard by them. Love the repetition of themes and the kicking guitar – not so keen about the cartoon in the video though, for me it distracts from the music.

Witness (1 Hope) by Roots Manuva. Normally this isn’t my sort of music but for some reason I really like this. Good lyrics coupled with a decent beat do the job………

Various Artists – Q Best of 2001 (2001) – CD

  • The Strokes – The Modern Age
  •  The Charlatans – Love Is The Key
  • Ryan Adams – The Rescue Blues
  • Gorillaz – 5/4
  • Roots Manuva – Witness (1 Hope)
  • N.E.R.D* Featuring Kelis & Terrar – Truth Or Dare
  • Daft Punk – Aerodynamic
  • Elbow – Newborn (Album Version)
  • Radiohead – You And Whose Army?
  • Muse – Hyper Music
  • Turin Brakes – Underdog (Save Me)
  • R.E.M. – All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star)
  • Ed Harcourt – Hanging With The Wrong Crowd
  • Ash – Shining Light
  • AIR – How Does It Make You Feel?
  • OutKast – So Fresh, So Clean
  • Andrew WK – Party Til You Puke
  • Starsailor – Fever
  • Stereophonics – Step On My Old Size Nines

Rate – 3/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 27, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 17, Downloads – 5, Cassettes – 1

Total Tracks: 630, Time: 47h 39m 06s