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Jeru the Damaja – The Sun Rises in the East (1994)

[Album 803/1001]

Are there any things you know/facts that you’ve learned…where you’re mildly embarrassed about how you acquired this knowledge?

For example, knowing that the sun rises in the east (and therefore, sets in the west).

I’d like to say that I remember this fact due to hours hard work & in-depth research into the rotation of the earth / time zones / altitudes / longitudes.

But it was actually due to hours of watching Beauty & The Beast (“certain as the sun, rising in the east”).

I imagine I’m not alone in hearing Dame Angela Lansbury’s voice when remembering the direction of sunrises!

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Thanks to Jeru the Damaja, and his debut album, The Sun Rises in the East, I’ve now got another memory hook.

Speaking of hooks, the chorus to Da Bichez is as catchy as they come, if somewhat of an inappropriate selection to sing around the dinner table.

And his Mind Spray claim of “I annihilate, as I articulate” lays out his game plan succinctly: his delivery is often aggressive, but it’s well-crafted.

So perhaps if I wanted to appear ‘cool,’ I could engage in some revisionist history & pretend that I learned about the axial tilt of the earth from Jeru the Damaja.

But now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t be timid that I learned about sunrises from Dame Angela.

I might even argue that Ms. Lansbury exudes coolness: did you see how many murders she calmly solved on Murder She Wrote?!

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Verbalize the Positive

Happy Saturday!

Fred Neil – Fred Neil (1966)

[Album 802/1001]

You know those people with two first names?

When it comes to music, there are likely 3 categories of these folks:

  1. The ‘Geoff Stephens’ of the world. The music enthusiasts, the people that appear on the 1001 list…(checks list)…0 times!
  2. The ‘Bob Dylan / Paul Simon / George Michael / Elton John / Ray Charles’ club. The double-first-named bunch that appears a bunch of times on the 1001 list.
  3. The ‘Fred Neil / James Taylor / Billy Joel’ association. Your two first names make but a single appearance on the 1001 list. But you enter & exit the list in style, demonstrating solid musicianship throughout and keeping the listener engaged for the duration of your stay.

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Verbalize the Positive

With this album, Fred also came ever so close to joining the elusive song/album/artist trifecta.

By including the songs Faretheewell (Fred’s Tune) and Cynicrustpetefredjohn Raga on the album Fred Neil by Fred Neil, I suppose that would count as something like 2.5/3!

Country Joe & The Fish – Electric Music for the Mind and Body (1967)

[Album 801/1001]

When did you first hear about Country Joe & The Fish?

I recall hearing this group being referenced by Sir Paul McCartney, when being interviewed about Sgt. Pepper.

Though his answers were considerably more articulate than my paraphrasing, Sir Paul was describing the album’s context by saying something along the lines of, in 1967, groups were named things like Country Joe & The Fish.

And John / Paul / George / Ringo thought, wouldn’t it be great to make a record where instead of being ‘The Beatles,’ they could have a much more 1967-esque identity? Something like, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?

Seeing that said album ended up at #1 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list…yes, I suppose it would be great!

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Now Electric Music for the Mind and Body is not Sgt. Pepper.

But it’s not too shabby either.

The group is worthy of being appreciated for its own merits (rather than just a footnote in the creation of another album).

And even if Electric Music for the Mind and Body may not be considered the #1 Album of all time, it’s good enough to help the band find their way into The Top 5 ‘Fish’ Artists!

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Verbalize the Positive

I’m a big fan of Gordon Korman’s ‘MacDonald Hall’ young adult series, featuring the headmaster Mr. Sturgeon, aka, The Fish!

Artist of the Week IV – Quiz #37

ArtistoftheweekIV

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

2020 Artists of the Week (so far):

The CurePublic Enemy, Steely Dan, Taylor Swift, Venom, Chuck Berry, Dixie Chicks, Billy Idol, Randy Newman, Jay-Z, Alanis Morissette, Pulp, The Byrds, Love, Queen Latifah, Muddy Waters, Robbie Williams, Rage Against the Machine, The Cars, Janet Jackson, King Crimson, Arcade Fire, James Brown, Daft Punk, PJ Harvey, SoundgardenDave Matthews Band, Stephen Stills, New Order, The Wallflowers, Billie Holiday, Earth Wind & Fire, Nirvana, Nick Drake, The Guess Who, Norah Jones

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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 Norah Jones last week.

The results after 36 weeks (as of Monday afternoon – results submitted after that time will be added to next week’s spreadsheet):

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Ready for Quiz #37?

I guess we’re On the Road to Find Out!

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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 #37
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points…………………British artist, born in London in 1948. One of his 1970 folk rock albums (the album whose title references a ‘hot beverage for the person who steers the rear wheels of a fire truck or controls its ladder’) is on the 1001 list

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400 points…………………The title track of that album, Tea for the Tillerman, was also used as the theme song for the Ricky Gervais TV show, Extras

And speaking of HBO television series, the Flight of the Conchords tune, Father & Son, is quite different from this artist‘s song of the same name!

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300 points……………………His birth name is Steven Demetre Georgiou; he adopted the name Yusuf Islam in 1977; his stage name is a combination of a feline + a common plural misspelling of this quiz maker’s last name.

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200 points………………..The inevitable photo puzzle:

Untitled presentation (42)

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100 points………………..The artist is C___ S__________

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Answer: القط ستيفنز الموسيقى

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

I enjoy that if I just put his stage name in the translation, google translate switches the ‘v’ to a ‘ph’ – I ended up adding ‘music’ to make it translate properly, but it was nice to see the ‘ph’ as the suggested spelling/translation for a change!

Parliament – Mothership Connection (1975)

[Album 800/1001]

“Oww, we need the funk, we gotta have that funk”
– Parliament, Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)

Until recently, I didn’t realize I needed the funk.

But now, I gotta have it!

Fortunately, George Clinton and his bands, Parliament & Funkadelic, keep delivering the goods.

I’m not sure if fans tend to prefer one group over the other; it doesn’t feel like there’s a wrong answer.

Perhaps it’s one of those scenarios where listeners gravitate toward whichever they heard first?

In any event, to paraphrase another line from Give Up The Funk, when you find yourself wanting the funk, there’s a whole lot of rhythm going round here!

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Verbalize the Positive

A tip of the hat to Rich @ KamerTunesBlog for his new series, The Positive Spin. Looking forward to the eventual podcast!

The Electric Prunes – I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) (1967)

[Album 799/1001]

Full credit to The Electric Prunes – they know how to craft an intriguing title.

Beginning with the seemingly oxymoronic band name, The Electric Prunes. If asked to name an bold / exciting / invigorating fruit, how many people would choose dried / humiliated plums?

Then there’s the album name, I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night). Had anyone else previously considered that there might be an optimal quantity of dreams in a given sleep? Or that exceeding that desired amount would be a problem to be addressed through song? 

And perhaps most thought-provoking of all, the track, Are You Lovin’ Me More (But Enjoying It Less).

It got me thinking about long-term relationships between bands & fans.

In my case, Radiohead.220px-The_Electric_Prunes

With each subsequent album, I find my love / respect / admiration for the band continues to grow. Though at the same time, with the odd exception, I find I’m enjoying the newer albums less than their predecessors.

So I’m curious as to how that will one day apply to a relatively new-to-me group like The Electric Prunes.

With their debut, thus far, enjoyment hasn’t been hard to come by.

For starters, Train for Tomorrow feels like a preview of Nirvana’s About a Girl. Its followup track, Sold to the Highest Bidder features an electric mandolin-esque sound (which delightfully brings Flight of the Conchords to mind). Then there’s a dash of harpsichord in The King Is in the Counting House…so there’s plenty to enjoy within the sub-30-minute running time.

But I wouldn’t say I’m head over heels just yet.

Over time though, will I fall deeper in love?

And will it inevitably be offset by a decrease in enjoyment?

We shall see!

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Verbalize the Positive

For fans of The Onion, there’s a Canadian comparable named, The Beaverton.

One of their finest headlines: Study finds you are the only person who truly appreciates the genius of Radiohead!

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970) & Bad Company – Bad Company (1974)

[Albums 797 & 798 / 1001]

Do you have a favourite self-titled trifecta?

I can think of a trio of good ones from the 1001 albums list:

Bad Company’s Bad Company, from the album, Bad Company.

Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath, from the album, Black Sabbath.

And Iron Maiden’s Iron Maiden, from the album, Iron Maiden.

But who had the best eponymous song / album / band?

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Self-Titled Song: Bad Company

I appreciate that each group went in a different direction in terms of running order placement.

Black Sabbath’s decision to use the title track as the opener makes perfect sense. The rain sounds are suitably ominous and the mid-song gear change is likely the second best mid-song gear change of 1970.220px-BadCompanyBadCompany

Iron Maiden’s choice to close with the title track also exudes logic.

However, in this case I have to give the nod to Bad Company. As a side 2 opener, it works quite well.

And recently seeing the song referenced in the Fred Armisen/Maya Rudolph show, Forever, is what inspired this post in the first place.

So if a tie-breaker is needed, that would be it!

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Album: Black Sabbath

Once again, there’s a lot to like across the board.

Bad Company’s debut is nice & concise. Considering the album includes Can’t Get Enough, they would also earn bonus marks for the Tia Carrere/Christopher Walken dance scene in Wayne’s World 2.220px-Black_Sabbath_debut_album

With Iron Maiden’s formidable debut, I’m fortunate enough to own the enhanced CD.

However, only Black Sabbath included multiple song suites, one of my favourite track formats.

In one of those solid suites, the song segment Wasp provides a nice preview of one of the best Oasis tunes of the 21st Century (The Shock of the Lightning), albeit with a swing beat.

Most importantly, thanks to Aaron @ Keepsmealive, I own this on 8-track.

To borrow a Michael Caine quote, You Can’t Beat That!

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Band: Iron Maiden

The mark of strong B(r)and recognition?

The tendency for fans to abbreviate the group name.

Whereas Bad Company’s shortening to Bad Co. is a promising start, it’s hard to picture many fans unambiguously referring to the group as either ‘Bad’ or ‘Company.’

On the other hand, it’s hard to picture many fans referring to Sabbath or Maiden by using their full artist names!

Therefore, while all 3 are quality groups, a tip of the hat must go to (Iron) Maiden for being so consistent for so long.

Alas, I’ve already reviewed Maiden’s self-titled album, so only 2 outta 3 of these albums would count as ‘new’ reviews.

But I rarely need much encouragement to break out my enhanced CD for another revisit!

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Is it possible to determine who had the best overall self-titled Song / Band / Album combo?

Let me know!

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Verbalize the Positive

I love when music is name-checked on TV shows, as Bad Company was on the show Forever!

Artist of the Week IV – Quiz #36

ArtistoftheweekIV

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

2020 Artists of the Week (so far):

The CurePublic Enemy, Steely Dan, Taylor Swift, Venom, Chuck Berry, Dixie Chicks, Billy Idol, Randy Newman, Jay-Z, Alanis Morissette, Pulp, The Byrds, Love, Queen Latifah, Muddy Waters, Robbie Williams, Rage Against the Machine, The Cars, Janet Jackson, King Crimson, Arcade Fire, James Brown, Daft Punk, PJ Harvey, Soundgarden, Dave Matthews Band, Stephen Stills, New Order, The Wallflowers, Billie Holiday, Earth Wind & Fire, Nirvana, Nick Drake, The Guess Who

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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 The Guess Who last week.

The results after 35 weeks…will have to wait until next week. Alas, I ran out of time this week to assemble, thanks for your patience! 

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Ready for Quiz #36?

I’m Feelin’ the Same Way!

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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 #36
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points…………………American artist, born in Manhattan in 1979. Her 2002 debut album is on the 1001 list & her birth name is Geethali _____ ______ Shankar.

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400 points…………………That debut album is called Come Away With Me – I Don’t Know Why I didn’t mention that in the first clue!

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300 points……………………In addition to her talents as a singer / songwriter / pianist, she demonstrated her sense of humour by making a cameo in the movie Ted (as shown below):

Untitled presentation (40)

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200 points………………..Could it really be a 200 clue without a photo puzzle?

Untitled presentation (41)

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100 points………………..The artist is N______ J______

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Answer: نوراه جونز

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

Her debut is a keeper!

Traffic – Traffic (1968)

[Album 796/1001]

“I hate traffic. The band and the phenomenon”
– Homer Simpson

Ahh the phenomenon of traffic. Being stuck in the space between two points.

The latter part of Homer’s statement isn’t exactly controversial. It could easily be part of an airtight political platform, ‘do you hate traffic too? do you love puppies?!’

But hating the band?

It’s a strange claim, as Traffic doesn’t strike me as a band that would inspire a ton of hatred.220px-Traffic_(album)

But if traffic is indeed the time spent between two points, in this case, it is time well spent.

For example, the opening minute or so of the song, Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring.

The walk-up opening evokes The Wind Cries Mary, or The Jimi Hendrix Experience circa 1967.

At about the 44-second mark, the wandering guitar line is reminiscent of Mr. Churchill Says, or The Kinks in 1969.

So if Traffic in 1968 represents the space between Jimi in 1967 & The Kinks in 1969, I certainly don’t hate being stuck here!

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Verbalize the Positive

On the aforementioned Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring, my favourite track from the album, Steve Winwood is credited with lead vocals / hammond organ / guitars / bass guitar / co-writing.

Not too shabby for a 20-year old!

Funkadelic – One Nation Under A Groove (1978)

[Album 795/1001]

“Who says a jazz band can’t play dance music?
Who says a rock band can’t play funky?
Who says a funk band can’t play rock?”220px-Funkadelic_-_One_Nation_Under_a_Groove
– Funkadelic, Who Says A Funk Band Can’t Play Rock?!

Whoever was saying those things, they clearly weren’t listening to Funkadelic.

Whatever the band classification / whatever the music genre, my goodness, these folks can play.

So don’t listen to the nay-sayers; instead, do yourself a favour & listen to the irresistible One Nation Under a Groove, pronto!

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Verbalize the Positive

It’s tough to pick a favourite Funkadelic album (so far) between this & Maggot Brain, a very nice problem to have!