Another week and another day on MyVinylCountdown.com where I count down the 678 vinyl records I collected during the 70′s and 80;s.
I have vowed to do it before this disease makes it impossible.
In raising awareness of Lewy body dementia through this column on this website and AL.com I hope to be able to support those families who are caring for a loved one with dementia. And that means all those affected by all dementias including the No. 1 cause, Alzheimer’s disease. Lewy body dementia is second leading cause of the numerous types of dementias.
My NP (Now playing) this week is ‘Live for Ireland’, an all star charity concert in the vein of Live-Aid. Only all of the performers are Irish or have significant Irish heritage.
It was a 1986 concert to raise money to tackle unemployment. An Irish lineup covered 14 hours, they say. U2 was there. Cactus World News, Van Morrison, the Boomtown Rats, Clannad, the Chieftons, the Pogues, Elvis Costello, and a reconfigured Thin Lizzy who had a few months earlier lost frontman and lead singer Phil Lynott. Gary Moore took the lead vocal duties at this one.
Other reviews below, include albums by the Flying Lizards, Steve Forbert, and the Birmingham, Ala.-connected Brummies. Yes, the Brummies get in here because I had already done the B’s in my alphabetical countdown. Still my favorite ‘new’ music so far this year.
ALBUMS: The Flying Lizards (1979)
There’s some funny bang-up experimental work going on here.
The bangs are like a hammer hitting a table or two pans slapped together. And they usually come in triplets throughout the song “Money.”
The air traveling reptiles deliver an awesome, deconstructive, take on Barrett Strong’s original, a song covered by many, including the Beatles.
“Money that’s what I want,” the robotic voiced female lead sings. The robotic voice’s accent by Deborah Evans-Stickland is decidedly English.
Then it’s bang, bang, bang. In the video it’s gunshots but it sounds more like hammer-on-table to me.
But lest one thinks this and their cover of ‘Summertime Blues’ are just simple novelty tunes, the deeper cuts suggest something, well, deeper..
I can’t say this electronically chic groove is accessible. But it’s ambitious.
It’s got a little Yoko in it. Yoko with sense of humor.
ALBUMS: ‘Alive on Arrival; (1978); Jackrabbit Slim (1979); Streets of this Town (1988)
I blinked once and it was gone..
A poignant line in his 1988 album ‘Streets of this Town’ digs at the heart of Forbert’s pathos.
I used to think this was guilty pleasure music. But after re-listening to Forbert I can throw the guilty out. This is just a pleasure — and part of that is because of his pain. Forbert suffered early from Dylan comparisons like all those at that time with a guitar and a catchy songs that paint a picture. He suffered because of the high expectations, early success and youth. Look at the cover of ‘Alive on Arrival.’ He’s a baby-faced kid, albeit with a 50-year-old Rod Stewart/ Dylan-esque voice.
Forbert isn’t Dylan. He’s a pop-folk singer who slung his guitar over his back and left his crappy-but-it’s-mine Mississippi town for New York City. His first album ‘Alive on Arrival’ was, at least side one, a slam dunk. He opened the album shutting a door on his past by calling Laurel, Miss., a ‘dirty stinking town.’
Forbert was from Meridian, which was near Laurel (can you smell it from there?)
For an in-depth Rolling Stone piece at the height of his initial success, go here.
That debut set up the expectations. He came out next with an album that had a blockbuster single ‘Romeo’s Tune,’ a momentary brush in 1979 with the stratosphere. I saw him on the heels of that second album and remember a great show in Atlanta at a small venue.
But alas, like many, the follow-up pressure seemed to have gotten the better of him for a while and he made the scene in New York but watched his creative space get smaller.
From ‘I Blinked Once,’ 10 years after Romeo:
The nineteen seventies was ten long years,
was ten long years to sing a song
It kicked off madly with a New Year’s cheer
I blinked once and it was gone
Gone, gone I blinked once and it was gone
Looking from present, he has a strong body of work and has had excellent musicians behind him on various albums including Wilco and Nils Lofgren. In addition to these vinyl records, I have about three other Forbert CD’s,each good in their own way.
Favorite line from a good song called, January 23 – 30, 1978: “Some say life is strange, but compared to what, yeah.”
ALBUM: Eternal Reach (2018)
Ladies and gentlemen: The Brummies!
I see what they are doing.
Great harmonies good, tasteful but forceful guitar and just a pinch of psychedelia circa 1960s music. Throw that in the mix with a healthy slice of power pop and BAM Birmingham.
Brummies is slang for a Birmingham resident, that’s Birmingham, England. It’s a name that reflects the bands British influence, especially the flood of music during Beatlemania and the British Invasion.
Eternal Reach is a great mix of genres creating a sweet sound full of harmonies and chorus. They cite the Beatles, Elton John, ELO, Blitzen Trapper and My Morning Jacket as being among among their influences.
On the album there are a number of standouts. I like ‘Norway’ which starts with ‘I’m sorry I didn’t come home for your birthday.’ In a few words it sets the tone magnificently.
‘Set You Free’ opens with crunching guitar and is like much of the album, multi-layered . ”Haunted” is possibly my favorite piece on the album, with wide dynamic range, shown off on the opening three or so lines. The radio-friendly, ‘Drive ,Away’ includes titillating vocal help from recent Grammy winner, Kasey Musgrave, is probably most likely hit.
The whole album is seductive, atmospheric, with just enough lyrical intrigue and musical crunch to sweep you in. It sounds like a long-lost classic, with modern accents.
There seems to be a lot of songs on the album — almost like they had a ‘hidden’ song or something.
Nice work Brummies.