Sunday, October 30, 2005

THE "ITALIAN SOUND"!!!
(or, further adventures in listening to obscure vinyl artifacts!)


I've always prided myself on trying to listen to music that no one else listens to. Right now, as I'm typing this, I'm hearing the new 3-CD set of "Live" songs by "Yes", and I was really surprised to find that on disc 3, there are two songs on there that were never put on any studio album by "Yes"! Groovy, far out and SOLID, I say!

Anyway, I started off tonight's vinyl-spinning session by listening to 3 albums by NEKTAR. Nope, they never had a hit here, although some of their albums charted in the Billboard Hot 100, not that I give a damn about that. Some of the best music NEVER makes the charts. NEKTAR is a British band that resides in Germany. Might have something to do with the fact that if you're an entertainer in Britain, the government takes 95% of your taxes. Ack!!! Many British musicians end up being known as "tax exiles".

NEKTAR plays what is called "progressive rock"; rock that intersperses classical elements, as well as weird, jagged time signatures, and bands such as Nektar occasionally indulge in long song-suites, sometimes taking up an entire side of an album. Which is why I like "YES" so much; I love the instrumental interplay. I suppose it's no wonder that I found myself liking jazz as well; last nite, I listened to John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" album for the first time. I'm not sure what he's doing there, but it's interesting! That's how I approach music. Hence, radio programmers and I often violently disagree on music matters.

I ended up listening to Nektar albums tonite, because a friend had lent me a "Reunion Concert" DVD featuring all the original Nektar members. It took place in New York, and I was surprised the band had that much of a following. I've had Nektar albums in my own collection for ages, and after seeing this DVD, I went in, dug out the old albums, and re-acquainted myself. I played "Down To Earth", "Remember The Future" and "A Tab In The Ocean"; those three albums are regarded as progressive-rock "classics" from the '70s.

After "Nektarizing" for a while, I was in the process of putting the albums back in my collection. I've got everything arranged alphabetically. Not far from the "N"'s were the "P"'s. And I spied a couple of albums by Premiata Formeria Marconi, an ITALIAN progressive-rock band. I remembered that one of those albums wasn't very good. So I played it again, and while there were good "Passages" in it, it was just kinda dull. It didn't help that the Italian Musicians had difficulty singing English lyrics, written for them by King Crimson's lyricist, Pete Sinfield.

So, I pulled out another album by that group...a "live", in-concert album...one side recorded in New York, the other side in Toronto, during 1974. On this later album, Premiata Formeria Marconi shortened their name to "P.F.M.", and the album was titled, "Cook". I was hoping that on a live album, they'd play with a little more fire and urgency. And I tells ya, I wasn't disappointed! Here's the album:

In several places on this record, you'll find intense dueling between electric guitar and electric violin. In other places, there are hushed keyboard and acoustic guitar passages, and even though these Italians still sing English with a thick accent, this album is a lot more fun, because they're playing in front of a crowd, and they really KICK!!! I was surprised to find, that in places, P.F.M. sounds a lot like the Mahavishnu Orchestra, what with intense, intense instrumental battles between musicians.

I like pop music, too, and have followed the charts all my life. But sometimes, a song that takes its time "getting there" is just what the doctor ordered. I think I rebel, consciously or otherwise, against heavily formatted, programmed, dull, stupid music. So I try to seek out "what else" is out there. A blogger I know has been sending me "various-artists" compilation CD's of current material; some of that stuff is pretty interesting too. But not right now. I've got that YES CD playing right now, you see.

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Well, as you see, I can get pretty long-winded about musical things. But I'll tell ya something; if it wasn't for music, I would've lost my mind long ago. Music has always been there. When times have been bad, when people have lied to me or used me, when I've been made fun of, music was always there.

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There was an article in the paper today about the "ruts" in the roads over in Spokane, and how, next year, on-and-off ramps were going to be closed in the city's downtown in order to "de-rut" the roads. (As if driving on I-90 isn't hard enough now) It seems like, a couple years after roads have been smoothed out, ruts appear again. It's just not in Spokane; I notice 'em near State Line; I noticed 'em on I-5 heading south in Oregon when I was down there this year. Is pavement "cheaper quality" these days, or are there that many more people out there, wearing out the roads? I don't think it's just "studs" that wear ruts in the road; not many people in the Eugene, Oregon area have cause to use safety studs.

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Tonite (Saturday)/Sunday Morning is the time we turn our clocks BACK one hour. I heard someone on TV provide a (unique or not) insight: (I've never heard it before)...this is actually the longest day of the year. It's 25 hours long. Of course, I've had some "Mondays" that felt 'double'-that. Especially when I was driving cab. The things we do to ourselves, huh?

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Kids, you might wanna prepare yourselves for SCANDAL. An aide to Karl Rove (the "Scooter" guy) has been indicted. Rove has been told he won't be indicted YET, but the investigation will continue. Ties to the Vice President are being looked into. The old Watergate question will soon (if has not been already) be exhumed: "What did he know and when did he know it?" I wrote in a previous post that "it can't be fun to be Prezzident Bush these days", to which someone commented, "it's not fun having him for PRESIDENT these days".

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On the YES Concert DVD I'm listening to right now, a song which, to me, is the perfect marriage of Top-40 popularity and progressive-rock respectability: "Owner of a Lonely Heart"...I just LOVE that song. Yeah, some of the more dyed-in-the-wool anti-top 40 YES diehards will think I'm nuts (always a possibility), but, hey, I was diggin' on "Heart Of The Sunrise", a bona-fide YES progressive classic before this song came on!

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Here's something that should tell ya that the economy is gettin' real bad: A casino, Marilyn's Casino in Spokane, is being CLOSED! What next, will PAWN SHOPS be soon going out of business? And, the Tidyman's grocerial store in the Spokane Valley is closing too. Is it time to go back to the barter system yet? Should I be digging myself an underground bunker? And of course, the Penny Candy Store in downtown CDA is saying bye-bye. I guess people must be saving their pennies.

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Maybe I have no business commenting on Politix because I'm so ignorant, but I'll throw this out there. George Nethercutt has now joined a law firm. He's a lawyer. And you've heard all the lawyer jokes. George should fit right in. After all, he'll be forever remembered for LYING to the voters on the term-limit thing. The voters remembered, too, years later when he tried to run against Patty Murray. She has a pretty positive image, so far.

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Sheesh, this has been a long post. Sorry 'bout that. Hope some of it was interesting. Of course, sometimes when I go back and read over my old posts, I think I'M an idiot! Anyway, I'll leave you's guys with another little image, proving my "THIN AIR" concept is not original AT ALL:

Okay, that's it. Torture session over. You can go now. I've been informed and entertained by the comments I've been receiving here as of late. I try to answer all of them. So if you think I've got anything important to say (which is endlessly debatable), check the comments section of whatever post you originally commented on. Out and Over!

6 Comments:

Blogger animadvert said...

I'm going to try and find that "Cook" album in a CD format. Don't own the vinyl gear. I really enjoy electric violin. Been to a few contemporary concerts where it been featured in solo performances.

8:10 AM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

I've read that PFM has other albums out as well as the two I mentioned in the post. The "Cook" album is so much better than the other one I heard, a studio album titled, "Photos of Ghosts". Good luck, although you may end up paying a steep price for an import CD...I'm not sure if that "Cook" album was on CD, stateside. Maybe, who knows.

If you enjoy electric violin, check out JEAN-LUC PONTY; he's recorded tons of albums over the years. Also, Mahavishnu Orchestra has some swell stuff along those lines.

3:05 PM  
Blogger cc said...

You said: "Kids, you might wanna prepare yourselves for SCANDAL. An aide to Karl Rove (the "Scooter" guy) has been indicted."

Dave, Lewis "Scooter" Libby is Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff. That makes it even worse, doesn't it?

8:33 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Hey, Ms. CC: As you can tell, I'm not familiar with "who does what". Maybe I should research more before I write. So 'Scooter' worked for Cheney, huh? Well, wherever they are, they're high up in the government. So it's all bad, I guess. So I guess "Rove" to "Bush" is like "Scooter" to "Cheney"? Scooter is out, Rove is being investigated...and it's sounding more like a case of politico DOMINOS all the time.

1:54 AM  
Blogger cc said...

Re: Scooter Libby is to Cheney as Rove is to Bush... We shall see... We shall see...

9:36 PM  
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8:41 AM  

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