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Nina Simone – Wild is the Wind (1966)

[Album 626/1001]

“So while you’re imitating Al Capone, I’ll be Nina Simone”
– The Fugees (or more specifically, Lauryn Hill), Ready or Not

How exactly does one ‘be’ Nina Simone?

By being bold & bluesy, like in I Love Your Lovin’ Ways?

As a soulful singer-songwriter, capable of hitting powerful closing notes, like in Four Women?Ninasimonewildisthewind

Through absolutely soaring vocals, as in What More Can I Say?

Or perhaps a more subdued, yet no less effective, approach, à la Lilac Wine?

I don’t know…compared to Nina, it feels like Al Capone might be a much easier & considerably less nuanced imitation!

In any event, if she’s planning on being as versatile & compelling as Nina is on Wild is the Wind, Lauryn Hill’s got her work cut out for her.

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Verbalize the Positive

Speaking of Nina Simone as a role model, her biography was included in the original edition of “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women.”

The two books are terrific & I’ve really enjoyed reading them with the extraordinary young women in my house!

 

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Mott the Hoople – Mott (1973)

[Album 625/1001]

A few years ago, I introduced the idea of the Uptown Funk 70/30 Principle.

I argued that the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars track worked so well because it was 70% familiar to me & 30% completely unprecedented.

But why 70/30?

According to 2015 me:

“Although equal parts old & new might seem reasonable, the 50/50 split would inevitably sound like a compromise, it would sound middle-of-the-road and thus, sound forgettable.

Instead, a 70/30 split provides the optimal balance in 2 ways:

1. By giving the dial-switchers the instant pleasure (something familiar) that they seek, you’ve got their attention.

2. Once hooked, new ideas can be added to the existing framework.  These original ideas are what will eventually boost the song’s longevity.”

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I have really been enjoying Mott The Hoople’s Mott.

I suspect it’s because they’ve mastered the 70/30 principle.

70% of the time, I feel like I’ve heard something like them elsewhere.

30% of the time, I have no prior reference points.

For example, what would you get if you mixed:

.  20% Bowie (Watch that Man)
+ 20% The Dictators (Cars and Girls)
+ 15% Stones (Rocks Off)
+ 15% Springsteen (Born to Run)
+ 30% completely unfamiliar?

You’d have All the Way from Memphis.

And you’d have one killer opening track!

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Alternatively, should you decide to combine:

.  20% Bob Dylan (Like a Rolling Stone)
+ 20% Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers’ See You When I Get There)
+ 15% Blue Rodeo (Til I am Myself Again)
+ 15% The Pogues (Sick Bed of Cuchulainn)
+ 30% completely unfamiliar…

…You’d have the terrific closing track, I Wish I Was Your Mother.

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Perhaps most impressively, as with the two examples above, it’s not necessarily that they sound like artists that came before them.220px-Mott_album

Instead, it’s that they remind me of other artists that I was familiar with before becoming acquainted with Mott the Hoople.

More often than not, they remind me of their contemporaries or even artists that they’ve eventually influenced.

And far more often than not, I was really impressed with what I heard.

As a result, I recommend becoming 100% familiar with Mott.

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Verbalize the Positive

An early contender for favourite new-to-me album of blogging year #8!

Artist of the Week II – The Final Standings

Artistoftheweekyear2

Amazing Artist of the Week Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Artists of the Week: Genesis50 CentSlayerWhitney HoustonoasisPaul SimonChicagoFatboy SlimDef LeppardBeyoncé, Kraftwerk, Green Day, George Michael, Frank Sinatra, Anthrax, CCR, Bon Jovi, Annie Lennox, Marvin Gaye, Dolly Parton, The Killers, Lenny Kravitz, Radiohead, Little Richard, Björk, Ryan Adams, Elvis Presley, The Police, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, Snoop Dogg, ZZ Top, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Duke Ellington, Meat LoafSheryl Crow, Boston, Queen, Buddy Holly, Outkast, Motörhead, Rod Stewart, k.d. Lang, The White Stripes, Ray Charles, Aerosmith, The Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen, Prince

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My thanks to all who participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes this year.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Prince last week.

The final standings:

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after 50

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The obligatory graphs/unnecessarily detailed statistical analysis:

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Verbalize the Positive

Thank you all for participating, I’ve really enjoyed putting these together!

Madonna – Music (2000)

[Album 624/1001]

Do you have a namesake song?

Our former principal shared her first name with a Neil Diamond sing-a-long.

When I asked her (as I inevitably ask anyone named Roxanne/Cecilia/Rhiannon…) what she thought of her namesake song, she delivered an absolutely perfect answer that redefined diplomacy:

“I like the way it makes other people feel”

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I quite like the way late 80s/early 90s Madonna makes me feel.220px-Music_Madonna

Vogue? Express Yourself? This Used to Be My Playground?

I’ll let my body move to that music any day, I even have a Vogue 45!

Madonna from around the turn of the century?

Individually, I feel next to nothing when listening to Music.

Each mild irritation (why is she trying to communicate with the disc jockey through song? it’s improbable he’ll be able to fulfil her Music request!) is counter-balanced by a moment where I was mildly impressed (acoustic songs like I Deserve It sound like eventual Nelly Furtado tracks, well done anticipating yet another musical trend Ms. Ciccone!).

So if I were choosing an album to enjoy independently, this might not be my first choice.

Though perhaps this album was never meant to be enjoyed independently…

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In the clip above, it looks like the participants are having the time of their lives.

The host (Ru Paul) is singing along, a judge (Michelle Visage) is happily dancing along, and the contestant (Peppermint) is delivering the best lip sync that I think I’ve seen.

Although Music may not change the world for me, I really like the way it makes other people feel.

Especially because in this case, that on-screen joy was contagious.

It appears that Y2K Madonna is my Sweet Caroline.

Music makes the people come together, indeed.

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Verbalize the Positive

A few weeks ago, the school played Sweet Caroline as the getting to class music – I’m always impressed by the students who add the ‘so good, so good” when singing along with the chorus!

Machito – Kenya (1957)

[Album 623/1001]

“(We) Just happen to have a slam bang finish, Sir”
– Bing Crosby, from the film, White Christmas

There’s nothing better, to modify a Bing-ism, than a slam bang instrumental finish.

In my books, to qualify as an official slam bang finish, frantic percussion helps, but isn’t mandatory.R-3303776-1425355852-2602.jpeg

Yet if there’s a big, bold, brass note played to end the song, it counts.

For example, the end of the Naked Gun theme, ridiculously loud trumpets hitting an outrageously high note.

And I was delighted to hear Machito choose to end so many songs in that manner.

When I saw a pattern starting to develop on Kenya, I was curious if he’d go 12 for 12.

He didn’t quite make it (the trumpets found their mutes on a pair of tracks) but I was impressed he still managed to hit double digits!

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Untitled presentation (17)

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50s done

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And with review #23 in the books, I’m officially done with the albums that I simply must hear from the 1950s.

Though this album felt like an appropriate choice to wrap up the decade (with plenty of high notes), I wouldn’t say the milestone itself feels like a slam bang finish.

Considering it’s a mere 2.3% of the 1001 list, maybe I should keep any ‘finished the 50s’ celebrations somewhat modest!

Perhaps postpone the parade for now?

But it’s got me thinking about how I’ll be feeling when I finish the other decades.

A sense of accomplishment?

A feeling of, now what?

To borrow an R.E.M. tune, Bittersweet me?

Probably a bit of all of the above.

For now however, I like the feeling of having one decade down & I’m grateful to have explored 23 new-to-me albums.

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to my friend/Pride of Thunder Bay/Super Deke for highlighting fellow bloggers during December in his Greatest Guest Posts series!

Artist of the Week II – Quiz #50

Artistoftheweekyear2

Amazing Artist of the Week Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Artists of the Week (so far): Genesis50 CentSlayerWhitney HoustonoasisPaul SimonChicagoFatboy SlimDef LeppardBeyoncé, Kraftwerk, Green Day, George Michael, Frank Sinatra, Anthrax, CCR, Bon Jovi, Annie Lennox, Marvin Gaye, Dolly Parton, The Killers, Lenny Kravitz, Radiohead, Little Richard, Björk, Ryan Adams, Elvis Presley, The Police, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, Snoop Dogg, ZZ Top, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Duke Ellington, Meat Loaf,  Sheryl Crow, Boston, Queen, Buddy Holly, Outkast, Motörhead, Rod Stewart, k.d. Lang, The White Stripes, Ray Charles, Aerosmith, The Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen

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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 Boss last week.

The results after 49 weeks (as of Saturday morning – results submitted after that time will be added next week):

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after 49

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Ready for Quiz #50?

The year II finale!

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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 #50
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..American artist, born in 1958, his recording studio is the solution to the photo puzzle below:

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400 points………………..After being virtually invisible for the first 3 minutes of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame performance, his While My Guitar Gently Weeps outro solo redefined “stealing the show”

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300 points……………….He has a trio of albums on the 1001 list: Sign o’ the Times, one about the year before Y2K, and…

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200 points………………a 1984 soundtrack about violet-coloured precipitation

 

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100 points………………..The artist is P______

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Answer: أمير

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

My wonderful wife & I went to a tribute to this artist in Vegas last year – they did their homework (including the guys who played Morris Day & Jerome), it was fantastic!

Artist of the Week II – Quiz #49

Artistoftheweekyear2

Amazing Artist of the Week Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Artists of the Week (so far): Genesis50 CentSlayerWhitney HoustonoasisPaul SimonChicagoFatboy SlimDef LeppardBeyoncé, Kraftwerk, Green Day, George Michael, Frank Sinatra, Anthrax, CCR, Bon Jovi, Annie Lennox, Marvin Gaye, Dolly Parton, The Killers, Lenny Kravitz, Radiohead, Little Richard, Björk, Ryan Adams, Elvis Presley, The Police, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, Snoop Dogg, ZZ Top, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Duke Ellington, Meat LoafSheryl Crow, Boston, Queen, Buddy Holly, Outkast, Motörhead, Rod Stewart, k.d. Lang, The White Stripes, Ray Charles, Aerosmith, The Pretenders

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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 Pretenders last week.

The results after 48 weeks (as of Saturday morning – results submitted after that time will be added next week):

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after 48

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Ready for Quiz #49?

Almost there!

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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 #49
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..American artist, born in 1949, with a quintet of albums on the 1001 list, including a sparse recording named after a Midwestern state (capital city: Lincoln)…

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400 points………………..and its considerably less sparse followup album that acknowledges his home country at the time of his birth (and features a video starring a youthful Courteney Cox, moving rhythmically in the absence of light!)

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300 points……………….The Boss

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200 points………………His first name is the same as the shark from Finding Nemo (or The Hulk’s first name), his second name is [the plural of a particular season + an adolescent]

 

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100 points………………..The artist is B_______ S___________________

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Answer: بروس سبرينغستين

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

In addition to quite enjoying this artist, I quite liked Weird Al’s “interview” with him!