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Friday, July 1, 2016

Brian's Got Some Bobby McFerrin (no, really.....)

(I'll have pics up tomorrow)

It can be aggravating when you're a big fan of an artist, and all other people know about them is that one annoying, stupid song that they did. That is most definitely the case with one of my favorite musicians....

Bobby McFerrin is an amazing singer, with a great range, perfect pitch, and a captivating way of singing a cappella, making music using many aspects of his voice. He's also classically trained, an expert on Mozart, and a very gifted conductor. Years ago, I saw him lead the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in a program of Mozart, with a long vocal improvisation in the middle...


*pant, pant, pant* Whew! OK....

Surely one of the most annoying 80's songs next to "We Are the World" and "Walking On Sunshine", "Don't Worry" was a smash hit that was everywhere. And I remember even as a kid, it rang false with me. I'd seen Bobby perform on TV before, and I thought what is this? The faux-Jamaican accent, the flat vocals, the ridiculously simple tune.... it's like if you got Placido Domingo to sing the theme from Three's Company! It's just not representative of the man's talentIt was a fluke hit for him, but that was the zeitgeist at the time.

"Don't Worry..." - and the album it came from, Simple Pleasures - are nowhere near this post. What we start with are his two earlier albums for Elektra - The Voice and Spontaneous InventionsVoice was an eye-opener for the jazz world, performed entirely unaccompanied. Bobby alternates bass lines, drums on his chest, becoming his own rhythm section. And he can make his voice sound like a muted trumpet, soloing over it all. Key tracks are his versions of "Blackbird" and "I Feel Good", the great "Medley", and the fantastic "I'm My Own Walkman".

Spontaneous was my first CD of his, and still my fave. It's a bit jazzier affair, featuring versions of "Walkin'" (with Wayne Shorter) and "A Night In Tunisia" (w The Manhattan Transfer). Also has one of my fave Beatles covers, his take on "From Me To You". And his duet with Robin Williams, "Beverly Hills Blues", is just phenomenal. Both these albums were recorded live, by the way. They're in one file.

The next album, Medicine Man from 1990, is a bit different. Bobby creates background vocals by multi-tracking himself. It's a great, organic sound. "Sweet In The Mornin'" features a group called Voicestra singing with him. On "Discipline", Voicestra and Bobby Sr. help deliver a solid, gospel-tinged number. The whole album has a mellow, funky world-beat kind of feel. A great summertime CD.

Bobby has had a long friendship with pianist Chick Corea. I have two CD's where they collaborate. This first one, Play ('92), is a live album where they duet. There's amazing versions of jazz standards like "Round Midnight" and "Autumn Leaves", as well as the great "Spain", which is a variation on the Concerto D'Aranjuez. This album sneaks up on you; it's that good.

The next disc, The Mozart Sessions, has Bobby leading the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Chick playing piano. Bobby sings as well, but it's not the focus of the music until "Song For Amadeus", where he and Chick improvise off of "Sonata No. 2 in F Major". Gorgeous classical music. If you don't have any Mozart CD's, start with this one!

Again featuring the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Paper Music is a varied program of classical pieces. There's more Mozart, but there's also Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Fauré, and Boccherini's "String Minuet". Bobby sings on 5 out of the 9 tracks. A perfectly realized album. Haunting in it's own way, really.

The last disc here is Mouth Music. It is a Sony compilation of his 90's material. Repeats four tracks from the previous classical discs, but it's not a throwaway. Has a different version of "Round Midnight" featuring members of Miles Davis' 60's Quintet. Also several tracks with Yo-Yo Ma, as well as two great "Circlesong" tracks from 1997.

Pay attention... we're Wire!

Jonder again, with an update to a collection of Wire covers that I posted a few months back.  I promised another set, and I actually have FOUR in all.  Here's the second volume, and I'm reposting the first one.  A blog reader named Lewdd sent me a cover of "Mannequin" by the band Track The Curse -- thanks!!!  Another reader recommended the Wire covers by the Feelies, so I've got their take on "Outdoor Miner" today, and their performance of "Mannequin" coming up in Volume 3.  Wire continues as a band to play and record, and this year they released a mini-album called Nocturnal Koreans

WIRE COVERS I (repost)

01 BIG BLACK - Heartbeat/ 02 CEREMONY - Pink Flag/ 03 NEW BOMB TURKS - Mr. Suit/ 04 THOUSAND YARD STARE - Strange/ 05 DAG NASTY - 12XU/ 06 HENRIETTA COLLINS - Ex Lion Tamer/ 07 MONUMENT - Dot Dash/ 08 fIREHOSE - Mannequin/ 09 KUSTOMIZED - Surgeon's Girl/ 10 WAX IDOLS - Sand In My Joints/ 11 BAND OF SUSANS - Too Late/ 12 SCRAWL - Reuters/ 13 HEAVY FRIENDS - Mercy/ 14 CHARLES DE GOAL - A Question Of Degree/ 15 VALKYRIANS - I Am The Fly/ 16 KLONHERTZ - Impossible/ 17 HER - Champs/ 18 DYKEHOUSE - Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW/ 19 MONKS OF DOOM - The 15th/ 20 BLUE AEROPLANES - Outdoor Miner/ 21 LEMONHEADS - Fragile/ 22 NOUVELLE VAGUE - Marooned/ 23 SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS - Used To/ 24 GAZELLE TWIN - Heartbeat

WIRE COVERS II (new post)

01 DIVE - Heartbeat/ 02 FISCHERSPOONER - The 15th/ 03 LIGHTNING SEEDS - Outdoor Miner/ 04 MOOSE - Kidney Bingos/ 05 MY BLOODY VALENTINE - Map Ref. 41°N 93°W/ 06 TRACK THE CURSE - Mannequin/ 07 BAND OF SUSANS - Ahead/ 08 TRASH CAN SCHOOL - I Am The Fly/ 09 GODFLESH - 40 Versions/ 10 THERAPY? - Reuters/ 11 DIE KREUZEN - Pink Flag/ 12 MINOR THREAT - 12XU/ 13 aMINIATURE - A Serious Of Snakes/ 14 YO LA TENGO - Too Late/ 15 THE ANGRY ANGLES - The 15th/ 16 REM - Strange/ 17 LEE RANALDO - Fragile/ 18 THE FEELIES - Outdoor Miner/ 19 THE VACCINES - Mannequin/ 20 LOW - Heartbeat

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Can't Get Enough of Sleater Kinney?

(Jonder:  one more for today from Big Scott's inbox.  This is one of his favorite bands, and another welcome share from Mr. Milner!)

Here's three boots I think you may dig: a Sleater-Kinney set from Austin last year (I think it's the Austin City Limits gig? Not 100% sure), a set by Corin Tucker's band from 2012 (a great record, I can't recommend picking up a copy enough if you haven't heard it!) and finally, a set from Janet Weiss' long-running band Quasi from 2010, when it was still a trio. 

Finally at last..... Boogie On Reggae Woman Part 2

Cliff, a longtime Grow Bored contributor, writes:  "In the mists of time I sent our main man Scott a reggae post featuring female reggae artists. Ill health intervened, but I have finally got round to sending a follow up to it."
"Reggae has always been a male stronghold, but when you dig out some of the female artistes you will soon see that they had much to offer as well. Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt were two-thirds of Bob Marley’s backing singers I-Threes. Although they will probably always be better known for this; they were however fine artists in their own right and had already had long established careers before joining Marley.  For me, the Judy Mowatt album is the stronger of the two. Her sweet, rich, alto sings the praises of Rastafarianism, spouting positive vibes and female-empowering themes."
Rita Marley - Harambé (1982)
1. There Will Always Be Music/ 2. My Kind Of War/ 3. Harambe/ 4. King Street/ 5. Love Iyah/ 6. Retribution/ 7. One Draw/ 8. Fussing And Fighting/ 9. Who Is Your Neighbour/ 10. Who Can Be Against Us

Judy Mowatt - Mr. Dee-J (1981)

1. Mr Dee Jay/ 2. Glad Song/ 3. I Am Not Mechanical/ 4. Big Woman/ 5. Trade Wings/ 6. On Your Mark/ 7. Think/ 8. Get Happy/ 9. Only a Woman/ 10. King of Kings

"Phillis Dillon was a rocksteady singer with soul and pop mixed in to form the complete package. She recorded for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s. Her One Life to Live is a fine album, although the covers of the Beatles’ "Something" and The Carpenters’ "Close To You" do nothing for me; they seem a bit out of place and come across as just filler tracks. The cover of Stephen Stills’ "Love The One You’re With" is much better. Although the album sounds a bit dated today (it was released over 40 years ago), it is still worth a listen as Dillon’s voice is worth hearing."

Phyllis Dillon - One Life to Live (1972)

1. One Life To Live, One Love To Give/ 2. Love The One You're With/ 3. Long Time No Nice Time/ 4. Something/ 5. I Can't Forget About You Baby/ 6. Picture On The Wall/ 7. Woman Of The Ghetto/ 8. Close To You/ 9. Eddie Oh Baby/ 10. We Belong Together/ 11. The Love That A Woman Should Give To A Man/ 12. You Are Like Heaven To Me

"Sister Carol was one of the dancehall era's few successful female DJs. Leaning heavily on socially conscious material, Sister Carol delivered uplifting and cautionary messages drawn from her Rastafarian principles, while always urging respect for women. She was more of a singjay than a full-time toaster, capable of melodic vocals as well as solid rhyme."

Sister Carol - Jah Disciple (1989)

1. Ram The Party/ 2. A No Me Name Peggy/ 3. Jah Disciple/ 4. Potential/ 5. Get It Straight Africans/ 6. Lost In A Space/ 8. Intelligence/ 9. A No Me Mommy & Daddy/ 10. Wicked Collie/ 11. Remember When

In case you missed it, here is Part 1 of Cliff's "Boogie On Reggae Woman":

An unexpected collaboration from first-time contributor Eric Impakt!

Eric writes, “I'm a huge fan of the blogsite, love the music i find on here. It has gotten me into a lot of great bands and helped me find stuff i wanted anyway. I sometimes grab live concerts from but hate how they download as one long track. So on my own I use MixPad and fix the volume and track out each song. I'd like to contribute one I've just finished for your blog and hopefully some more in the future.”

"Being a fan of the re-emerging Psychedelic scene, I love the new collaboration of Les Claypool and Sean Lennon, The Claypool Lennon Delirium. The group is currently on tour and this is a live show I've tracked and cleaned up from SugarMegs originally."

Eric has done a great job with this one! His work will be appreciated by anyone who has gone through the laborious process of taking a concert recording and splitting it into individual tracks, fixing the volume, identifying and tagging each song, etc.  And who would have imagined Sean Lennon and Primus bass virtuoso Les Claypool making music together?  They have an album out called The Monolith of Probos, and they are on tour through October.  Here are the details on this live set from Eric Impakt:
"Recorded at the Crossroads Club Kansas City on 6/06/16. It's a great show featuring some awesome covers as well. Here's the set list and ENJOY!”  

The Cricket And The Genie Movements I & II
Breath Of A Salesman
The Monolith Of Probos
The Cosmic Highway (Frog Brigade)
Bubbles Burst
Mr. Wright
Boomerang Baby
Oxycontin Girl
Astronomy Domine (Pink Floyd)
Captain Lariat
Tomorrow Never Knows (Beatles cover – Amazing!)
Southbound Pachyderm (Primus encore)

Welcome to the crew, Eric.  Hit us up with more good stuff soon!

Pebbles from the Spanish Garage Rock Era!

(Jonder here, helping out Big Scott by posting some of the excellent guest contributions that have been submitted recently.  Keep 'em coming and we will post 'em!  As Scott wrote a few days ago, your support of the blog means a lot to him.)

All the way from Spain, here's Jose K!  Jose says that he wants to "contribute to the greatness of this blog, in these difficult times" (according to Google Translate).  Today he is sharing what he calls the Spanish equivalent of the "Pebbles" series.

The series covers the years 1964 through 1973, and each of the five volumes is dedicated to a particular style.  It's a carefully curated bootleg selection of rare vinyl records made in Spain during those years, that are sought out by collectors.  Google translates "cosecha" as "harvest".

The titles of the volumes aren't easy to translate, but Wikipedia says that yé-yé music (yeah yeah) was a Beatles-influenced movement popular in France, Spain and Italy, with rock songs sung in the native languages of those countries.  The style gradually lost popularity as the blues revival and psychedelic rock captured listeners' attention, just as it did in Britain and the States.  Volume 3 features "rough" yé-yé songs, and Volumes 4 and 5 focus on the later years of the original Spanish garage rock era.

Jose recommends all of the tracks, and this certainly sounds like something cool and unique that you won't find easily on other music blogs!    You can find the tracklist here (and see cuánto dinero these vinyl comps are selling for these days!):ñedos

Jose, hicimos todo lo posible para traducir fielmente sus palabras a través de la magia de internet!  Muchas gracias por su contribución rara y única a Growing Bored!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Brian - This Is A Hijacking!

(Brian here)

Since I'm briefly at the helm of Growing Bored, I want to stump for some old links of mine, including some comedy that was hidden. But first something Scott wanted put up...

"Day Of The Dead" comp

Three disc set of Grateful Dead covers from 4AD Records. While Scott and I aren't Deadheads at all, this is a great listen. I mean, it's 4AD! Check it out.

When I did that P Covers post awhile ago, this was one of the files that I'd hidden a link for. It is a compilation of P songs from all over: B-Sides, movie tracks, odd mixes, latter day singles....there's also him doing a live version of R•diohe•d's "Creep" at Coachella. Please check this one out.

Adam S - They're All Gonna Laugh At You!
Great comedy album from back when he was funny.

Stevens & Grodnic - Somewhere Over The Radio
Great 70's comedy album based around FM radio. A lost classic.

David Brenner - Excuse Me Are You Reading That Paper?
Funny shit. Kind of a comedy concept album about growing up in Philly.

Roy Orbison - Greatest Monument Hits
You all need more Roy in your life, so get to it.

Redd Foxx - 2 Albums
The ultimate smartass.

G.G. Allin Compilation
That ugly little masterpiece I made. I listen to this one on shitty days. Give the world the finger.