Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails (1969)
Well it took until album #338 but it appears I finally hit a point where the project felt a bit like work.
Through no fault of the album however; I am completely responsible for 3 reasons!
1) My self-imposed themes
Up until now, even in the alphabet series, I’ve had an abundance (or as Cheri OTeri would say on SNL, abbondanza) of choice. Alas with the ‘Q’s, I’d already completed the other albums and so this was my one and only option for a Q review. It’s the first time I felt I ‘had’ to listen to a record and as I move along with the project, I know it won’t be remotely close to the last.
2) I’m on summer holidays
My preferred way to listen to music in the summer? On my first generation 1GB iPod nano (not meaning to brag) while out for a run. I didn’t have a digital copy of this record and it was a struggle to fit in uninterrupted 50+ minute listening sessions indoors.
Vacationing without the right music on my iPod? Imagine the hardships!
3) I hang out with small kids
I enjoy when there is unexpected overlap between the 1001 albums & my daughter’s music selections. Last summer, there was a week of surprising Johnny Cash & Raffi parallels. This year, it’s Happy Trails and the Brave soundtrack.
We’ve had Brave playing in the car a fair bit recently. It’s a strange album format:
– It opens with a few minutes of more conventional songs/song structures
– These are followed by long instrumental stretches, occasionally dropping down to incredibly sparse almost inaudible arrangements. Just as I’m about to check the speakers, the bagpipes come blaring back in.
– I’m all for recurring themes and I enjoy variety in dynamics. When there’s at least one daughter sleeping in the car, I was hesitant to, to borrow a Christian Slater movie title, Pump Up the Volume.
As you might have guessed, replace ‘bagpipes’ with ‘lead guitar’ & ‘the car’ to ‘her bedroom’, and the above observations also apply to my Happy Trails home listening experience.
Although I initially considered complaining about the audio levels (the lead guitar tended to overpower the other instruments), I do appreciate when live recordings are kept as perfectly imperfect documents (a la Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison).
This Quicksilver Messenger Service record also doesn’t do anything to dissuade me from 1969 being anything less than the finest year for popular music.
I’m looking forward to checking this one out again at some point.
I’d say when it’s on my own terms but in this case, it’s my terms that were the problem!