Monday, 14 April 2014

If you got it, a truck brought it

 Another example of glorious artwork, a bootleg this time......
Little Feat- On the other foot

Although the sound is slightly muffled, this recording undeniably catches the raw incendiary groove that Little Feat are so well loved for.

It is endearingly created, in very much a rough and homemade style. It is labelled as 'a big boot prod', and uses a name logo that I have never seen on other Little Feat releases.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The sensual stuff

If you grow up listening to listening to the kind of stuff I did, regardless of how varied it is, you are still presented with sexuality from a very skewed, and very 'male' point of view. Perhaps this is because the women who write and sing openly and confidently about sexuality have been historically suppressed, or tend to be more underground, simply because mainstream press get all uncomfortable about it? I can't think of any parent I know having any major objections to their child listening to say Led Zep's talk of lemon squeezing and juice running, or frankly everything by AC/DC, or the mythical fecundity of early British folk, or any of Leonard Cohen's musings. I don't know if that is because they are respectively, too cryptic, too jokey, too  traditional or too artfully poetic, but however you look at it, male sexuality, whilst not necessarily 'celebrated', is very much the given lyrical content in classic pop music of the 20th century. Female sexuality in pop music lyrics has been harder to seek out, and still has an idiotic element of taboo, which is probably partly why I find it so fascinating.

It would be ignorant and patronising to one-dimensionally categorise relevant examples in the depressing way women often are in the music industry (predator, virgin, scorned harpee....? All relatively familiar) but it has been an exciting adventure to more recently discover such glorious and varied examples of honest and open female songwriting that do not play a role, and do not distinguish between topics of sex and of love, rather to weave them together in an honest reflection of life. It is wonderful to discover lyrical celebrations of wilder sexual fantasies and desires, of smiles at blissful memories, of humiliations, of insecurities and of desperation.

Within this spectrum, likewise, it comes packaged as cryptic, jokey and artfully poetic along with the wonderfully sly, and brass balls bold. The shame would be for anything to be enjoyed for the novelty.....  but perhaps half of its effect comes from the fact that relative to male sexuality, it is still a novelty to hear about?
I don't know.
What I do know is, as much as I love music from a man's point of view, its thrilling to hear from the ladies.

Anyway, here's some stuff.

Joni Mitchell- Coyote
On this live version she really flies, and her face says it all, delicious memories, tinges of disappointment but no regrets.
....dancing close and slow now he's got a woman at home, he's got another woman down the hall he seems to want me anyway, why'd you have to get so drunk and lead me on that way?....

Cowboy Junkies- Black Eyed Man
Her face at this point :
....and he did things to me, things of which I dream of still........
Just elated, and ever so slightly fondly rueful.

Liz Phair- Flower
If I quote any sentence from this it will become a fairly X-rated post and I can't work out if this song has a predatory swagger or a 'sit outside your house with binoculars' kind of vibe but either way... brilliant.

Georgia White- Was I Drunk
Every time I think of him do I shiver?

Tori Amos- Precious Things
Resentful, insecure, angry, defiant.
...So you can make me come it doesn't make you jesus....

Sippie Wallace- I'm A Mighty Tight Woman

Tori Amos- Leather
..I can scream as loud as your last one, but i can't claim innocence....

Ani DiFranco- Dilate

Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash

Michael Nesmith is an incredibly interesting and talented bloke, and this is a great album, but this post is focused not on the content but the sheer beauty of the presentation.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I shot myself in the financial foot long ago by falling in love with every musical medium (bar the minidisc... obviously.....), and in some cases have the same album on tape, mp3, vinyl AND cd.

This said, it is widely documented that vinyl just has that tactile advantage. Its a work of art. Or it can be, hence the point I'm making. There is so much potential with the size and layout of vinyl record that some just seem a bit wasted, from the visual point of view. Yes its almost all about the music, but no music fan can deny that they have fallen for a record on sight, with the desperate hope that the listening experience will match. It doesn't always work however, i.e. intriguing cover, sub-par sounds (Billy Swan, ahem). My friend Ed recently bought a trumpet based comp with a cover that implied life changing potential. Mild disappointment was the theme of that afternoon, and lives did not change, needless to say.

Anyway, in terms of vinyl presentation, I think this one might be perfection. It is in keeping (but not in a themey way) with the music and it very much suits the man and his humour.

Life size portrait of Mike on the cover. Ideal kissing size (not essential, but in this case helps). B+W Avedon-style photo, very honest. Clear text supports dry title.

Charming cheeky note.

Back of sleeve is rainbow fade..... 

Gatefold inner picture shows Michael looking like some Waylon styled badass cowboy in a lake surrounded by Pre-Raphaelite red headed sirens and lilies. 

The gatefold text is a glorious stream of consciousness musing from Nesmith about the making of records, the artistic process and the industry generally, rounding off with: 

Well, what the heck, if there's no reason and it doesn't make any difference, then just don't do it... get a job, make something of yourself... as if yourself weren't something...why go through the thousands of dollars and aggravation of making a record to sell. I've thought about that a lot... I'm sure there's an answer, but it beats me. At least I'm prepared to accept anything...waxed fruit, tree surgery, whatever. And if I don't come to a fork in the round, I don't panic anymore, I just assume that one is the road and the other is a road off to the side.

With one final disclaimer, if you catch it

After two or three months this album may lose potency although some aroma may linger.

Now that's how you do album design.