Earthworks(Bill Bruford’s) Earthworks

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Earthwork (Bill Bruford) Earthworks
(1987) Editions EG label.  Purchased used at Rhino Records Claremont– I’m guessing in 2010?  Prog rock drummer Bill Bruford is extremely talented.  Like his contemporary Phil Collins, Bruford has a heavy jazz influence.  Unlike his contemporary Phil Collins, Bruford never traveled down the pop music road.  His talent and energy was much better suited to improvisation, experimentation, and collaboration with musicians that shared that sensibility.  This is not to say that Bruford has not enjoyed success: his work with King Crimson charted well.  This is the debut Earthworks album.  Earthworks are Bill Bruford on drums, percussion, whirled instruments; Django Bates on keyboards, tenor horn, trumpet; Iain Ballamy on soprano, alto, tenor saxophones; Mick Hutton acoustic bass.  No guitar… sorry Illinois…

side one

  1. Thud  (4:10)
  2. Making A Song And Dance  (5:52)
  3. Up North  (5:19)
  4. Pressure  (7:25)

side two

  1. My Heart Declares A Holiday  (4:35)
  2. Emotional Shirt  (4:45)
  3. It Needn’t End In Tears  (5:04)
  4. The Shepherd Is Eternal  (1:50)
  5. Bridge Of Inhibition  (4:15)

This album has that 80’s sound with a jazz intellect.  You hear it in the soaring horn work and the percussion often heard in music of that time: think Level 42 or Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop or Sting’s Dream Of The Blue Turtles.

Currently I am rewatching the episodic Ken Burns’ JAZZ.  I am not a musician.  I do not understand music at that level.  In JAZZ you listen to the experts talk in terms of composition, theme, tempo, scale, notes and chords etc… realizing there is a breadth of knowledge to music way beyond “I’ll give it a 65 Dick because I can’t dance to it”.  My appreciation for this record lies somewhere in between.  I have no wistful memories associated with this record. It has no chart toppers to readily identify.  I like this record similar to liking a foreign film.  You may not speak the language, but you can follow along with the subtitles and walk away after experiencing the film and feel elevated.

Earthworks(Bill Bruford’s) Earthworks

Eagles The Long Run

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Eagles The Long Run
(1979) Asylum label.  Original issue gatefold jacket with original inner sleeve.  Line up on the album includes Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, and joining the band on this album is Timothy B. Schmit who replaced Randy Meisner.  This is another Eagles album that is all over the place searching for the optimum commercial success.  By this point, Don Henley had the road to riches figured out and the others joined in– why not? On one hand, I feel for Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon.  Since their departure from the band, their significant contributions to its sound have greatly diminished in the afterglow of The Long Run and the touring since this release.

SIDE ONE

  1. The Long Run  (3:42)
  2. I Can’t Tell You Why  (4:56)
  3. In The City  (3:46)
  4. The Disco Strangler  (2:46)
  5. King Of Hollywood  (6:28)

SIDE TWO

  1. Heartache Tonight  (4:26)
  2. Those Shoes  (4:56)
  3. Teenage Jail  (3:44)
  4. The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks  (2:20)
  5. The Sad Cafe  (5:35)

On the other hand, maybe Leadon and Meisner are happy they don’t have anything to do with songs about predators, stranglers, and hedonistic fraternities.  I am glad this is the last of the Eagles albums in my collection.  I knew when I started this blog I would have to revisit albums I will never think to put on again.  Eagles records rank right up there.

Eagles The Long Run

Eagles Hotel California

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Eagles Hotel California
(1976)  Asylum label.  Original issue gatefold jacket and original inner sleeve.  This album sees the exit of band original member Bernie Leadon and the welcoming of Joe Walsh on guitar, keyboards, and vocals.  Gone is the country feel slide and present is a harder rock guitar.  Don Henley’s vocals dominate.  The mysterious lyrics of the title track have been keeping fans guessing for years.  Scan the inside cover photo spread and clearly one can identify the band members but who are all the rest of the folks pictured?  Faces seem to “look” like the rich and famous but on second look you’re not quite sure.

SIDE ONE

  1. Hotel California  (6:30)
  2. New Kid In Town  (5:03)
  3. Life In The Fast Lane  (4:46)
  4. Wasted Time  (4:56)

SIDE TWO

  1. Wasted Time (reprise)  (1:23)
  2. Victim Of Love  (4:09)
  3. Pretty Maids All In A Row  (3:58)
  4. Try And Love Again  (5:10)
  5. The Last Resort  (7:28)

There is no denying how significant this album is in rock and roll history.  It reflects the sensibility of the year it was released.  Before AIDS, before Reagan, before hostage crisis, before 9-11.  After Nixon, after Vietnam.  A brief slot of American time when sex, drugs, and rock and roll feels pretty harmless in retrospect.  The sound of this record is so heavily influenced by Joe Walsh.  You can clearly hear the guitar solos and think James Gang.

For me I have very warm memories of this album. Hanging out with my friends in the back yard or poolside, soaking in the sun working on our tans, the smell of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, gossiping about school.   Hotel California playing on the radio or someone brought their speakers out to the back patio by running the speaker wires underneath their bedroom window screen and we played the album over and over.  Nothing heavy.  No fears. I rode a skateboard then– without any safety gear.  Favorite song on this album? Randy Meisner’s Try And Love Again.

 

 

Eagles Hotel California

Eagles Their Greatest Hits

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(1976) Asylum label. Reissue.  Since I don’t own One Of These Nights, I can enjoy that track along with Take It To The Limit on this greatest hits collection.

SIDE ONE

  1. Take It Easy
  2. Witchy Woman
  3. Lyin’ Eyes
  4. Already Gone
  5. Desperado

SIDE TWO

  1. One Of These Nights
  2. Tequila Sunrise
  3. Take It To The Limit
  4. Peaceful Easy Feeling
  5. Best Of My Love

Illinois just confirmed it:  he heard Take It Easy on the radio today.  I wonder if Eagles saturation has occurred in other places in the US?  If you’re in Lincoln Nebraska, do you have the same Eagles experience?  Are you sick of hearing the Eagles on the radio in Des Moines?  How about Orlando?  Seattle?  My sense is this is a uniquely Californian experience.  Our current and former governor DID date Linda Ronstadt in the 1970’s…

Eagles Their Greatest Hits

Eagles On The Border

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Eagles On The Border
(1974)  Asylum label.  Reissue which included a 1/4 sheet poster.  On this album Don Felder is credited as being a band member even though he had played on tracks on all of their albums to date. This album drops some of the country twang in favor of a rocker edge. The cover art is a western stylized motif and the band members pictured on the poster proudly wearing their denim tuxedos.

SIDE ONE

  1. Already Gone  (4:16)
  2. You Never Cry Like A Lover  (4:01)
  3. Midnight Flyer  (3:57)
  4. My Man  (3:30)
  5. On The Border  (4:24)

SIDE TWO

  1. James Dean  (3:38)
  2. Ol ’55  (4:21)
  3. Is It True  (3:14)
  4. Good Day In Hell  (4:26)
  5. The Best Of My Love  (4:34)

The difficulty I have writing about these albums is trying to push aside the near repulsion I have in hearing some of these songs.  If you grew up listening to FM radio in Southern California, you heard an Eagles song once a day (maybe more than that) every day, from 1973 until what… maybe today?   There can definitely be too much of a good thing.  Songs like Already Gone, James Dean or Best Of My Love approach fingernails on the chalkboard. Seriously.  Best Of My Love… another prom and wedding reception song…

The Tom Waits’ tune Ol ’55 is a great song.  On The Border is another one I can still enjoy. BUSTED.  As I sit here and read this out loud to my daughter she reminds me that at this very moment I too, am proudly rockin’ my denim tuxedo.

Eagles On The Border

Eagles Desperado

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Eagles  Desperado
(1973) Asylum label.  Original issue.  This ode to southern-california-knotts-berry-farm- wild-west-show cover art and Eagles meets Foghat sound juxtaposed to stringed choral ballads is all over the place.  To my 2016 sensibilities I am taken aback by all the weapons on the cover both front and back.  What were we thinking back then– as a record buying audience?  So enamored of cowboys and the wild west my guess is that shot guns and rifles weren’t a big deal.  I have to admit at that time and place, I too shot guns, had guns in my home, and thought absolutely nothing of it.

SIDE ONE

  1. Doolin-Dalton  (3:29)
  2. Twenty-One  (2:10)
  3. Out Of Control  (3:05)
  4. Tequila Sunrise  (2:54)
  5. Desperado  (3:34)

SIDE TWO

  1. Certain Kind Of Fool  (3:01)
  2. Doolin-Dalton (instrumental)  (0:47)
  3. Outlaw Man  (3:34)
  4. Saturday Night  (3:20)
  5. Bitter Creek  (5:03)
  6. Doolin-Dalton reprise Desperado reprise  (4:49)

In high school I had an English class where we looked at song lyrics to learn about poetry devices.  We looked at Bob Dylan lyrics, Rolling Stones lyrics, and the song Desperado.  I remember thinking songwriting can’t get much better than Desperado.

When this album came out in 1973 girls were wearing one single flower in their hair behind an ear, guys were wearing their hair very long.  Tequila Sunrise was played at every prom or wedding reception or singles bar.  I have a memory of dancing at the Playboy Club in Phoenix Arizona to Tequila Sunrise– benefiting from looking older than my actual age…

 

 

Eagles Desperado

Eagles Eagles

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Eagles  Eagles
(1972) Asylum label.  Original release, original inner sleeve.  Obtained all of the Eagles records in my collection from Illinois in the early 1990’s.  He was going to trade them all in for credit at a used record store.  I jumped in and said “No Way.  I want them”.  I’m missing One Of These Nights.  On this debut album the Eagles are Bernie Leadon-vocals, guitar ,banjo; Glenn Fry-vocals, guitar, slide; Randy Meisner-vocals, bass, guitar;  Don Henley-vocals, drums. This album helped to established the genre known as the “California 70’s Sound” which is rooted originally in Crosby Stills, Nash, & Young; kind of a sleepy cowboy loneliness made beautiful with harmonies and coastal sunsets or drinking wine in a canyon.

SIDE ONE

  1. Take It Easy  (3:32)
  2. Witchy Woman  (4:11)
  3. Chug All Night  (3:16)
  4. Most Of Us Are Sad  (3:35)
  5. Nightingale  (4:08)

SIDE TWO

  1. Train Leaves Here This Morning  (4:10)
  2. Take The Devil  (4:01)
  3. Earlybird  (3:00)
  4. Peaceful Easy Feeling  (4:17)
  5. Tryin’  (2:53)

One of my favorite Eagles songs is on this album: Train Leaves here This Morning.  I never get tired of hearing that one– unlike many others on this album that I can’t stand to hear one more time.  Crazy how popularity can poison your art.

The photo on the back of the album cracks me up, it shows the four band members huddled together in what I imagine is the desert either at dawn or sunset.  It looks like they’re freezing their asses off–especially the picture of Bernie Leadon. I think I can hear his teeth chattering…

 

Eagles Eagles

Bob Dylan Self Portrait

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Bob Dylan Self Portrait
(1970) CBS label. Original UK release 2 LP set with original gatefold jacket.  The reviews of this album are horrible.  Skewering and savage trying to answer the question “What was Bob thinking when he released this?”  To me the answer is probably not that complicated:  many of these tracks are prior unreleased material.  Some are covers.  All of them reflect the total artist– hello? Self Portrait.  Critics want to pigeonhole artists, keep them this or that.  There is no way Dylan would make their jobs that easy.  Above that, Dylan is freewheeling– he has always been an artist that follows and does what he wants– without living up to expectations.  I think that’s it.

Side 1

  1. All The Tired Horses  (3:12)
  2. Alberta #1  (2:57)
  3. I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know  (2:23)
  4. Days of 49  (5:27)
  5. Early Morning’ Rain  (3:34)
  6. In Search Of Little Sadie  (2:27)

Side 2

  1. Let It Be Me  (3:00)
  2. Little Sadie  (2:00)
  3. Boogie Woogie  (2:06)
  4. Belle Isle  (2:30)
  5. Living The Blues  (2:42)
  6. Like A Rolling Stone  (5:18)

Side 3

  1. Copper Kettle (3:34)
  2. Gotta Travel On  (3:08)
  3. Blue Moon  (2:29)
  4. The Boxer  (2:48)
  5. The Mighty Quinn ( Quinn The Eskimo)  (2:48)
  6. Take Me As I Am  (3:08)

Side 4

  1. Take A Message To Mary  (2:46)
  2. It Hurts Me Too  (3:15)
  3. Minstrel Boy  (3:32)
  4. She Belongs To Me  (2:43)
  5. Wigwam  (3:09)
  6. Alberta #2  (3:12)

I can’t conclude my Dylan posts without mentioning I saw Bob Dylan in concert in 1988 for the Never Ending Tour.  This was my first encounter with Dylanphiles.  These are the folks that would make it very hard for me to be famous.  Their fanaticism was so rabid.  I really just kept staring around me bug eyed.  I had never seen anything like it– especially since the show itself was terrible.  The sound mix was awful and Dylan’s stage presence was a big flip of the bird to the audience.  Never talked between numbers, didn’t acknowledge we were even out there– many times singing with his back to us.  And the Dylanphiles just ate it up.

 

Bob Dylan Self Portrait

Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline

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Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline
(1969) CBS label. Original UK release original inner sleeve and glossy cover.The first thing you notice on this record is the change in Dylan’s voice on a few of the tracks.  It is in a different register and sounds unlike his previous releases. On this album Dylan has gone full tilt country.  From his duet with Johnny Cash Girl From The North Country to Nashville Skyline Rag this record is a country classic.

Side 1

  1. Girl From The North Country  (3:44)
  2. Nashville Skyline Rag  (3:14)
  3. To Be Alone With You  (2:10)
  4. I Threw It All Away  (2:26)
  5. Peggy Day  (2:05)

Side 2

  1. Lay Lady Lay  (3:21)
  2. One More Night  (2:25)
  3. Tell Me That It Isn’t True  (2:43)
  4. Country Pie  (1:39)
  5. Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You  (3:23)

On this record returns Kenny Buttrey, Charles McCoy, and Pete Drake.  Joining along as well are Norman Blake, Charlie Daniels, and Bob Wilson.  Country Pie sounds like the soundtrack to a Smokey and the Bandit movie. I should put this on more often.  It makes me smile.

 

 

 

Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline

Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding

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Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding
(1967) CBS label. Original UK release glossy cover. Story songs set with a county sensibility.  From allegorical offerings such as All Along The Watchtower to love songs such as I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.  Joining Bob Dylan on this album are Charles McCoy on bass, Kenny Buttry on drums, and Pete Drake on steel guitar.

Side 1

  1. John Wesley Harding  (2:58)
  2. As I Went Out One Morning  (2:49)
  3. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine  (2:53)
  4. All Along The Watchtower  (2:31)
  5. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest  (5:35)
  6. Drifter’s Escape  (2:52)

Side 2

  1. Dear Landlord  (3:16)
  2. I Am A Lonesome Hobo  (3:19)
  3. I Pity The Poor Immigrant  (4:12)
  4. The Wicked Messenger  (2:02)
  5. Down Along the Cove  (2:23)
  6. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight  (2:34)

Critically acclaimed, this is a simple album.  It is mostly a quiet, contemplative, rainy day music kind of album.  Even the up tempo songs are boiled potatoes basic.  The harmonica is a FEATURED sound in every song– sometimes like a bird crowing, sometimes as a whistle, sometimes a job’s done blast at the end of the day.

This particular copy is really showing its age.  Almost 50 years of playing it comes through in every pop and scratch.  My absolutely favorite song is I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.  I love this song, ranks in my top 10 favorite Bob Dylan songs of all time.  Now that I have heard it I will hum it for hours…

Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding