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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Natty Dread (1974)

[Album 410/1001]220px-BobMarley&theWailersNattyDread

Question at a recent trivia night I attended in Kingston: What is the name of the Tom Petty song commonly referred to as Roll Another Joint?

My Answer: You Don’t Know How it Feels (due to the line, “let’s get to the point let’s roll another joint.”

Trivia Venue Answer: Mary Jane’s Last Dance (ostensibly due to the cannabis reference in the song title)

Hmmm.

Fortunately, our team won the round anyways, but I was torn.

Do I become ‘that guy’ and say something to the host?  If I don’t, what will happen if people leave the venue with this misinformation left un-corrected??

Sensing any sentence I speak that starts with “actually, it’s called…” would be less than warmly received, I elected to take off my insufferable know-it-all hat for one evening and do nothing.

I suppose you can’t spell trivial without its first six letters.

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Part of what stopped me from behaving as a ‘know-it-all’?

1. A core belief that if someone behaves like they know-it-all, they’re proving how much they really, really don’t know!

2. I really, really don’t know it all, as evidenced by two of my long-held Bob Marley misconceptions.

a. In Green Jelly’s 3 Little Pigs video (at 2:10), for the last 22 years I thought the lyric was “then one day he was cranking UP a Marley…”  As the pig is shown passing a joint, I figured ‘Bob Marley’ was another synonym for ‘Marijuana cigarette.’

Turns out, the lyric is “cranking OUT Bob Marley.”

b. I definitely didn’t always believe this but after Natty Dread, I now agree with the masses: cranking OUT Bob Marley is exactly what ought to be done.

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My thanks to 1537 for his recent, wonderful Natty Dread post: his enthusiasm for the record (and simultaneous disdain for using the terms reggae, Marley, and dope-smoking interchangeably) encouraged me to give this a chance.

Once again, I endeavored to put together a track-by-track analytic post but this won’t be the time or the place.  Natty Dread just doesn’t feel like an album to type along with.

It does however feel like one that worked exceptionally well in the car, driving with the windows down on hot summer days.

It’s a proper start-t0-finish album and Them Belly Full might be 1974’s finest track.

More importantly, it’s great to have some misinformation corrected: I’ve learned there’s much more to the man and his music than the dorm room posters & weed euphemisms.

Nothing quite that trivial about Natty Dread at least.

Cornershop – When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997)

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Name that tune time!

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If you knew the song name, well played.WhenIWasBornForThe7thTime

For me, it was instantly familiar but I hadn’t the foggiest idea what was said before “45” and had to look up what exactly a “Brimful of Asha” is/was.  An essay on the Cornershop website helped clarify.

This catchy but overlong hit song is somewhat of a microcosm of the album itself, for better and, to a lesser extent, for worse.

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For better…in that some sounds enhance the listening experience.

When I Was Born for the 7th Time has a terrific list of featured instruments, including some sitar, harmonium and dholki (speaking of things I had to look up!).

It also featured a Punjabi language cover of Norwegian Wood, a neat take on one of my favourite Beatle tunes.

The album is also filled to the brim with hooks, it’s easy to see the appeal.

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For worse…in that some sounds take away from the listening experience.

The album opens nicely with Sleep on the Left Side, a late-90s, two-chord loop that could be a distant, slightly less chatty cousin of Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand.

But just as I was settling into a groove, a loud, enthusiastic voice bursts in to introduce Brimful of Asha.

It reminded me of watching a quiet, nighttime scene in a TV show and all of a sudden, a commercial comes blaring on with flashing lights, startling sound effects, and impossibly-energetic voiceovers!

The album flow was disrupted a couple other times along the way and at 15 tracks, it’s not as potent as it might have been with some editing.  From what I gather, there’s substance to the lyrics, but some of the sounds through some of the less interesting musical stretches probably detracted from some of the messages.

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Luckily, the better outweighs the worse, the stronger tracks still outnumber the weaker ones but overall, it was a bit of a (mostly) up & (slightly) down experience.

Like Brimful of Asha, much of the record feels tailor-made for use in adverts, many of the tracks have likely already been employed in that manner.

But even if they’ve already been featured in commercials, I’m sure that won’t stop these songs from being re-born, perhaps for a 7th time, in new promotional campaigns.

50 Book Pledge Update

Because why would anyone limit themselves to only one challenge at a time?

I pledged to read 50 books in 2015, just finished #18 tonight!

My bookshelf thus far:

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bookshelf

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Highlights since my last update:

The High Road was the lone 5 star from books #8-18.  It’s a shame its lead character, Angus McLintock, is fictitious – he’d be the ideal politician!

Book #19 may end up being 5 star material (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes) once I finish the last couple of cases.

There weren’t any misses either, all were quite readable.  Though there’s some selection bias I suppose as unlike the 1001 project, I don’t have to pick from a specific list.

If I had to select a top 5 of the year to date….

5. Clive Veroni, Spin

4. Gord Downie, Coke Machine Glow.  Speaking of biases, my recency bias is out of control here, I’ve got his accompanying solo album playing as I type!

3. Terry Fallis, The High Road

2. Jocelyn Saucier, And the Birds Rained Down

1. Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

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I can’t say all these books would have qualified for Evastalker’s neat TBR20 project but I’m pleased to report a couple of these were already owned and now finally read!

I always enjoy playlist posts (like Apple Pie and Napalm’s recent one), I find it really interesting hearing about what fellow bloggers think is worth hearing, seeing, or reading.

Which of course leads me to my final question: what are you reading these days?

Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

“I’m gonna file this one (The Dandy Warhols Come Down) with My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless…”
– Recent birthday celebrant Aaron @ KMA, slightly before his recent birthday!

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[Album 408/1001]220px-RhythmNation1814

What a brilliant notion.

Most of us probably have our own beloved sorting systems (alphabetically, chronologically, etc.) for our physical albums.  But until Aaron’s comment this week, I’d never considered a filing system based on my personal experience with individual albums.

Sorting enthusiast that I am, this of course led me to the following draft categorization scheme.

I was going to borrow my wonderful wife’s label maker but my category titles are just too chatty!

A photo sample:

Folder 1

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Folder 2

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Folder 3

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Janet & Whitney are two singers I wouldn’t have otherwise placed together but they seem to have some commonalities (beyond being folder buddies in my nothing-could-possibly-be-misfiled system).

I have a soft spot for their tunes about the importance of childhood education (WH’s Greatest Love of All, JJ’s The Knowledge).

Even though their music is accessible, the lyrics aren’t necessarily just fluff.  Rhythm Nation 1814 certainly tackles topics that don’t always go hand in hand with pop music.

Both excel at the undeniably feel-good dance tune (WH’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, JJ’s Escapade).

Both pair nicely with family members in a duet (Whitney with her mom in I Know Him So Well, Janet with her brother in Scream).

I don’t feel any twinges of guilt about enjoying either of these albums, in any of the formats.

But if I had to choose between these two particular albums, the tiebreaker would have to go to Janet.

Why?  For a grand total of about $4 on 3 separate trips, I somehow managed to purchase Rhythm Nation 1814 on CD, Cassette, and even the title track on Cassingle!

Dexys Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Ay (1982)

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10 years ago, I spent a summer in Glasgow.  During my time as a Glaswegian, I used to enjoy going to a questionable market where CD vendors would chant “2 for a Fiver.”

Perhaps questionable isn’t the right word – the CDs were less than authentic burned copies, somewhat hastily arranged on blankets; blankets that could be bundled up at a moments notice if the vendor had to make a quick escape with his inventory.

Seemed legit.

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1 year ago, I went to a more permanent flea market structure in Kingston.  Although the merchandise was displayed on less portable fixtures and the CDs & LPs were genuine articles, it still felt like a cash-only kind of place.

On that fateful day last summer, the “2 for a Fiver” promo in 2005 Pound Sterling ended up being “2 for a Tenner” in 2014 Canadian Dollars.

But I couldn’t be more pleased with my return on investment.

For $10 CAN, I walked away with a pair of stellar (and legitimate!) LPs: The Pretenders & Too-Rye-Ay.

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I recognize I sometimes have trouble separating the record purchase from the record play experience.

Yet even if I’d paid considerably more, I can’t see myself being remotely disappointed with this Dexys Midnight Runners record.

In fact, one of my more reliable metrics for evaluating records is how disappointed I am when life causes me to leave an album mid-listen.  The very definition of a first world problem of course, but I found it particularly disappointing when I couldn’t get through one of the sides before I had to go elsewhere.

The music is a lot of fun and the singer, Kevin Rowland, sounds somewhere between Robert Smith on Friday I’m in Love and Justin Hawkins on Friday Night.  And in my books, that’s fine company.

Perhaps my most reliable evaluation metric?  How much I listen to the record after it’s been reviewed.

Which is where I anticipate Dexys will join The Cure, The Darkness, and its flea market purchase partner, The Pretenders: never straying too far from my listening rotation.

The Dandy Warhols – The Dandy Warhols Come Down (1997)

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“Never have I wanted to like an album more, yet been so disappointed”
– Some journalist, from some paper, from some time in the late 90s.

Talk about a reliably sourced quote!

Although the details of author/paper/year escape me, I have a clear memory of reading that line in a review of Soul Asylum’s Candy From A Stranger.

It was such a powerful opening statement that the rest of the review likely went unread and the album certainly went unpurchased.

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Even though it’s not a perfect fit, I’ll borrow the Soul Asylum line for my Dandy Warhols Come Down experience.

An imperfect fit in that I can’t say that I was completely desperate to adore the album, nor was I left entirely disappointed.

However, on paper, The Dandy Warhols seemed right up my street; alas, the actual listening experience didn’t keep pace with my lofty expectations.

I was expecting to like this so much that I was willing to pay top dollar for it.  Well, top dollar for me when it comes to 1001 albums, a $7 sticker price.  Well, I guess it was at a 40% off sale, so it only cost $4.20 ($7 x 60% cost remaining).  But still!

A couple of the stronger tracks, Be-In and Minnesoter, felt like tunes that Sloan & Neil Young might have done better earlier in the decade on Smeared & Mirror Ball respectively.

Finally, in the track, Cool as Kim Deal, there’s the line “I’d rather be cool than be loved.”

That’s likely the defining quote here.  It’s probably a ‘cool’ record; I just don’t love it.

Which, if that’s what they’d rather be, mission accomplished.

Chic – C’est Chic (1978)

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For this review, I wanted to do a track-by-track analysis (as many of you fine fellow bloggers do).

I also contemplated assigning star/some sort of alternate icon ratings, as I enjoy reading those elsewhere too.

And I’d have plenty of favourable things to say &/or icons to award to Chic.

But then on my third or fourth run-through of C’est Chic, this video happened and further words were rendered redundant.

C’est Chic: c’est le fun, pour toute la famille!

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