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Fairport Convention – Unhalfbricking (1969)

[Album 693/1001]

“Last Friday Night”
– Katy Perry, Last Friday Night

What were you up to last Friday night?

Not meaning to brag, but I was…marking.

My wonderful wife was out with some work pals, the kids were in bed, and so I took advantage of the quiet window to mark some projects.

To borrow a Kim Mitchell tune, I am a Wild Party!

To help keep me going on the pile of marking, the evening’s soundtrack was provided by Fairport Convention.

And what a splendid soundtrack it was.

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“I put it off, I put it off, I put it off again”
– The Tragically Hip, Put It Off

When I procrastinate, typically it’s to avoid something undesirable or something that seems like a daunting challenge.

One could say that evaluating a seemingly endless pile of projects fits both of those descriptions…but listening to Fairport Convention?Fairport_Convention-Unhalfbricking_(album_cover)

I’m not sure if there is less undesirable task & I’m not sure if their quality blend of folk rock originals & covers could be much further from a challenging listen either.

So why did I wait 5.5 years after reviewing Liege & Lief before exploring Unhalfbricking?

I’ll be frank: I was worried about unreasonably high expectations.

Because I was so impressed by Liege & Lief, I thought that my palette had to somehow be fully cleansed before I could be fair when listening to Unhalfbricking.

However, when I recently heard Sandy Denny’s appearance on Led Zeppelin’s The Battle of Evermore, I thought, this is just silly, I’m just going to check out Unhalfbricking.

And I’m delighted the wait is finally over!

Her voice & Richard Thompson’s guitar pair so nicely, perhaps never better than on Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Simply marvelous.

So, my friends, I implore you: do not make the same mistake I did.

Listen today, regardless of when you last enjoyed Fairport Convention!

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Verbalize the Positive

Unhalfbricking is yet another gem from the Summer of ’69!

Artist of the Week III – Quiz #46

Artistoftheweekseries3

Exceptional Artist of the Week III Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

2019 Artists of the Week (so far): George Harrison, Notorious B.I.G., Amy Winehouse, Van Halen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Gorillaz, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Cheap Trick, Can, Kanye West, Fleetwood Mac, Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, Black Sabbath, Tina Turner, Jeff Buckley, The Monkees, Fiona Apple, Kiss, Dr. Dre, Ella Fitzgerald, Pixies, Supertramp, The Strokes, Common, Pearl Jam, TLC, The Who, Tom Petty, Justin Timberlake, T. Rex, Kid Rock, Duran Duran, The Kinks, Britney Spears, The Offspring, Peter Frampton, Rush, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cyndi Lauper, Traffic

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Traffic last week.

The results after 45 weeks (as of Monday night – results submitted after that time will be added to next week’s spreadsheet):

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after45

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Ready for Quiz #46?

If you are confused, check with the sun!

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Quiz Rules/Format
(Same as last year, feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #46
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..American band, formed in 1980 in Athens, Georgia. Does anyone actually know all the words to this song (or at least know more than David Spade / Chris Farley did in the film, Tommy Boy)?

Untitled presentation (16)

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400 points……………….The quartet of Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe have a quartet of albums on the 1001 list: Murmur, Document, Green, and Automatic for the People

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300 points……………………If you’re learning how to play the mandolin, chances are, at some point you’ll be learning how to play Losing My Religion

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200 points………………..3-letter acronym, also a stage of sleep, the ___ cycle

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100 points………………..The artist is (18th letter of the alphabet).(5th letter).(13th letter).

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Answer: آر إي إم

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

I adore their song, The Great Beyond, it would be in my all time Top 15 tunes!

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – The Message (1982)

[Album 692/1001]

“I like Johnny Cash and Grandmaster Flash (Flash) Flash (Flash) Flash”
– Kid Rock, American Badass

His name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid Rock. Je m’appelle Geoff.Grandmaster_Flash_&_the_Furious_Five-The_Message_(album_cover)

We’re not often mistaken for being twinsies!

But I’m pleased to report that I’ve managed to find a hint of common ground.

As after listening to Johnny Cash’s albums on the 1001 list (Folsom, Sam Quentin, IV) and this album by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, now when I sing along with American Badass, I’m singing the truth.

I too like Johnny Cash and Grandmaster Flash (Flash) Flash (Flash) Flash.

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effectiveness (4)

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Verbalize the Positive

The Furious Five = excellent backup band name!

Led Zeppelin – Untitled (1971)

[Album 691/1001]

If there’s an LZ album where some fans have reached their lifetime quota, I imagine this is the one.

For some, Rock and Roll can sometimes seem inescapable on classic rock radio (ironically, it has rarely been a long time since Rock and Roll was last played).Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_IV

And then there’s that other track, where many listeners may not so fondly remember being stuck slow-dancing with an undesirable partner for 8 minutes and 2 seconds.

However, radio over-saturation & awkward dance-closing memories cannot fully spoil the party here.

Especially when the album bookends are so strong.

On any given day, the opener, Black Dog, might have my favourite LZ riff.

And When the Levee Breaks is about as strong a closing track as I’ve heard.

Throw in some gentle acoustic excellence (Going to California), a guest appearance that enhances rather than detracts (Sandy Denny’s appearance in The Battle of Evermore), a pair of remaining tracks that are far from throwaway (Misty Mountain Hop & Four Sticks)…and it’s easy to see why these guys were somewhat successful!

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Verbalize the Positive

I enjoy when a movie trailer makes good use of a great song.

For example, The Big Short.

Excellent movie & equally excellent LZ song!

Silver Jews – Bright Flight (2001), Einstürzende Neubauten – Kollaps (1981), Basement Jaxx – Remedy (1999)

[Album 688, 689, 690 /1001]

Band Ts

One of the highlights of looking through family photo albums?

In addition to watching the kids get older, of course?

Watching my band t-shirts age, sometimes less than gracefully!

A mid-2000s Libertines T had a good run & has since been relegated to the painting/yardwork collection.

Another Cure T is still hanging on, though is worn only when a black shirt is required for recreational ball hockey.

And it was with great sadness that I had to say goodbye to, not 1 but 2, beloved red Pavement Ts.

The first? Met an untimely end in a washing machine.

The second? Looked sharp in the 2010 photo below, was starting to crack by the 2015 photo, and alas, is no longer with us.

But the photos endure, more so than the shirts!

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Untitled presentation (18)

Holly, Geoff, and Pavement in 2010 & 2015

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Bright Flight

After listening many times to Bright Flight, I don’t think there’s ever been an artist that’s been more IN my musical comfort zone & more OUT of my T-shirt comfort zone.

Musically, at one point or another during the band’s timeline, I gather a couple of Pavement members were in this group. Which may explain why it felt so familiar!Brightflight

Many tunes brought me back to Wilco’s Being There as well; in my books, that’s about as favourable & comfortable of a reference point as there is.

Like Pavement & Wilco, this album is full of great tunes & great lyrics, just the kind of artist I’d like to visibly support.

And then…there’s the band name. In my line of work, I’m not sure if there’s a T-shirt I’d be less comfortable wearing.

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Remedy

Well, maybe I’d be similarly uncomfortable sporting the cover art from the Basement Jaxx album, Remedy, on a T-shirt.

Students may see the shirt & say, “where’s your head at?”Basement_Jaxx_-_Remedy_album_cover.jpeg

It’s possible they’d be cleverly alluding to the ear-worm Basement Jaxx single, Where’s Your Head At.

It’s also more likely that they’d be curious about the questionable decisions that led to purchasing & wearing the Remedy T-shirt to my place of employment.

Fortunately for my chosen career, seeing how far outside my musical comfort zone that Remedy is to begin with, it’s unlikely I’ll be investing in a Basement Jaxx T-shirt any time soon!

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Kollaps

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that musical discomfort will inevitably lead to T-shirt discomfort.

For a group like Einstürzende Neubauten, it’s safe to say that the genres of ‘avant rock’ and ‘noise’ aren’t exactly found at the geographic centre of my wheelhouse.Kollaps_cover_art

However, that doesn’t mean I’m not fascinated by the album.

In fact, I’m tempted to put this album in a similar echelon to Suicide’s eponymous LP.

Which is to say, I can’t tell if it’s brilliant or bonkers.

Some will hear Kollaps and react à la Grinch, “if there’s one thing I hate, all the noise noise noise noise!

For others, music will never be the same!

Either way, I can’t see too many taking a lukewarm stance & I tend to appreciate the audacity of this kind of recording.

And as I don’t immediately see anything inherently offensive in the artist/album name or cover art, though I can’t see myself actually spending money to acquire one, I could see myself wearing a Einstürzende Neubauten T.

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The Music/T-Shirt Comfort Zone Matrix

Perhaps many of you have done so already, but I hadn’t previously considered the 2 x 2 musical/t-shirt comfort zone matrix before.

For me, only one quadrant has led to a T-shirt investment so far – the IN/IN!

effectiveness

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to the Camden Market vendor that sold me my first Pavement shirt in 2004 & then sold me the same shirt the next summer after the first one had bitten the dust!

Artist of the Week III – Quiz #45

Artistoftheweekseries3

Exceptional Artist of the Week III Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

2019 Artists of the Week (so far): George Harrison, Notorious B.I.G., Amy Winehouse, Van Halen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Gorillaz, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Cheap Trick, Can, Kanye West, Fleetwood Mac, Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, Black Sabbath, Tina Turner, Jeff Buckley, The Monkees, Fiona Apple, Kiss, Dr. Dre, Ella Fitzgerald, Pixies, Supertramp, The Strokes, Common, Pearl Jam, TLC, The Who, Tom Petty, Justin Timberlake, T. Rex, Kid Rock, Duran Duran, The Kinks, Britney Spears, The Offspring, Peter Frampton, Rush, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cyndi Lauper

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Cyndi Lauper last week.

The results after 44 weeks (as of Wednesday afternoon – results submitted after that time will be added to next week’s spreadsheet):

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after44

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Ready for Quiz #45?

You Can All Join In!

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Quiz Rules/Format
(Same as last year, feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #45
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..English band, formed in 1967, with a pair of albums on the 1001 list: their eponymous 1968 album & John Barleycorn Must Die (1970)

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400 points……………….One of Steve Winwood’s many associated acts; in this case, the one that was formed after he left The Spencer Davis Group & before he joined Blind Faith.

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300 points……………………In the 1996 film, Eraser, when told he was late for a rendezvous with Vanessa Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger offered this band’s name as his one-word explanation.

con air (1)

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200 points………………..When attempting to “drive” on the Don Valley Parkway (or any major highway near a large city at rush hour), chances are you’ll be stuck in this.

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100 points………………..The artist is T__________.

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Answer: المرور

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

I always appreciate when people share video / audio clips of Arnold one-liners, like the aforementioned Eraser quote!

The Sonics – Here Are The Sonics (1965)

[Album 687/1001]

Good news, Sega Genesis fans: there will be a live action Sonic the Hedgehog film in 2020.

Bad news, Visual effects people working on the film: the film was originally scheduled to be released in 2019.

But because loud internet voices were so vocal in their displeasure with the initial Sonic character design, the artists had to go back to the drawing board to appease the masses.

I suppose that’s how the entertainment world works in 2019, for better or worse: give the public a sample & wait for social media response to act as a focus group.

I can’t say I’ve followed the Sega saga too closely, I’m more of an NES fan myself.

And when it comes to asking the public for their opinions on animated character design, of course the Simpsons have already brilliantly demonstrated the perils of such consultations!

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Not being personally familiar with the behind the scenes production story of Here Are The Sonics, it’s possible that this is a calculated/compromised recording.

Perhaps painstaking efforts were made to make the recordings sound somewhat ragged (akin to spending an hour using hair gel, meticulously attempting to recreate a ‘bedhead’ look).

But that really doesn’t appear to be the case.Herearethesonics

The Sonics don’t feel like a group that was too concerned with polishing their sound to please potential consumers.

They also don’t strike me as a group that over-rehearsed their chosen tunes or over-produced their short & scrappy recordings.

And Here Are The Sonics is all the better for it.

It feels like one of those “press record & play’ records, where the initial vision wasn’t compromised based on consumer feedback.

These are the songs we want to sing, these are the basic parts we want to play, let’s put them on tape & move on with life.

Quite frankly, that sounds like very refreshing music to my ears.

So if you’re looking for an artist like that, Here They Are!

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Verbalize the Positive

As a long-time excessive punctuation enthusiast, I naturally approve of the exclamation marks on this album cover, ¡¡¡well done, The Sonics!!!