Forget About It

These two subjects weren’t related in my conscious mind, but as I was writing this I realized that they were indeed connected.

Alison Krauss is renowned for her ability with a fiddle. What I don’t read about as much is her angelic voice. Perfectly controlled; delicate, but with clear evidence of latent power; sweet and kind. On the title track to her 1999 album “Alison Krauss' 'Forget About It'Forget About It” her glorious voice is nicely matched with her fiddle, Sam Bush’s mandolin, and Jerry Douglas’ dobro. A bittersweet song about finally giving up on a relationship in which bravado doesn’t quite manage to hide the tragedy of a broken heart. Sometimes it helps to sort out your own feelings when you give yourself over to a piece of music which reflects what’s already in your heart.


CDNow has abruptly decided to terminate their affiliates program. I’ve been asked to remove all their cover art from this site, and all links to their products. They recommend signing up for Amazon.com’s associates program. They don’t suggest a simple method for converting the approximately 250 existing links to albums at CDNow into Amazon.com linkage.

Amazon.com requests that associates limit their use of cover images to 100 images. I’m already there. Do I need to get special permission to use more? Who knows.

The newsletter is careful to mention that “CDNOW will . . . continue to operate.” Why have affiliates been asked to remove links to CDNow products from their sites? You can imagine I’m asked about music and where to buy it quite often. Will I continue to direct folks to CDNow?

Forget about it.

Falling Free

Flesh – the title to David Gray’s second album is misleading, whether regarding the album or its title song. I’ll have to write about that some day.

Before reaching “David Gray's 'Flesh'Flesh” (track 10 on the album) you make a brief pass through “Falling Free”, a gorgeous piano and vocal tune. While many of David’s love songs are sad, this one is gloriously happy; passionate almost to the point of being spiritual. It’s hard to resist poetry like

 All of my senses overthrown by the might of your skin and the lamplight on your cheek

or

 See how the sky is made of sapphire the colours flowing through our hands the moon is fire in your hair a million miles beyond what science understands

Accompanied by marvelous music like “The Light”, “New Horizons”, and “Flesh”, this 1994 release is a must-have for the Celtic/folk music lover. Or for that matter, for lovers of all kinds.

A Slack Hand Makes for Something, But I Don’t Remember What

Guess who went on vacation and didn’t tell anyone?

Sorry for the complete lack of communication here. I spent a week in Arizona with a couple friends, much of it driving through the incomparable Oak Creek Canyon and other fun places.

I’ll have a complete dossier on the trip, including photos and musical connections, by the weekend.

Next time, I’ll let you know where I am. I know how you worry.

Riverwalk Special: Rhythm on the River

Jennifer Jensen, Promotion Manager at Riverwalk Jazz, sends notice of a special upcoming show. “Rhythm on the River: A Look Back at 40 Years with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band” will be broadcast the week of November 14, 2002.

From the Riverwalk website:

“Forty years ago, when most young people in America were fascinated with rock and roll, a young college student in San Antonio launched a professional jazz band in a classic style. This week on Riverwalk Jazz, friends and fans across the country honor Jim Cullum and the Jazz Band he founded with his father in 1962. We’ll dip into the archives of our radio show for favorite live performances, and salute the fine musicians who’ve performed in the band through the years.”

I highly recommend the show in general, and this sounds like it’s going to be a very special edition.

Roar of the Ocean at My Window

Lhen I sleep with the window open, I can hear the ocean from my bedroom. Last night, it fairly roared; I’ve never heard it so loud. The storm at sea seems to have whipped it to a frenzy, pounding the shore to release the energy absorbed from the sky.

Almost (but not quite) completely unrelated, on my way home to sleep by the ocean I heard a new (to me) version of a song I love: “Herman’s Hermits, singing “Wonderful World.” Not the very different song covered by Louis Armstrong and a host of others (including Israel Kamakawiwo’ole), but the Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, and Lou Adler composition. Yes, Lou Adler should sound familiar. He was the producer behind Jan & Dean, Johnny Rivers, Carole King, among others. I first heard his name in a truly great Simon and Garfunkel tune from “Simon & Garfunkel's 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme” called “A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How Was Robert McNamara’d Into Submission)” in which Adler is one of many names in what Drew Wheeler of CDNow calls a “stream-of-consciousness laundry-list of ’60s cultural touchstones, delivered as a self-consciously Dylanesque rant.”

Having been written by three famous names in the music world, I’ve always found it appropriate and fun (and heavenly) to have it recorded by three names perhaps more well known: James Taylor, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel. Released on Art Garfunkel’s “Art Garfunkel's 'Watermark'Watermark” way back in 1977, I was introduced to this version by my sister’s boyfriend (to whom she’s been married for over twenty years now.) Danny’s a sensitive and intelligent guy who has introduced me to a lot of wonderful music over the last quarter century.

Herman's Hermits 'Greatest Hits'This particular “Wonderful World” has also been recorded by Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music, Don McLean, and, as I mentioned, Herman’s Hermits. But don’t buy their greatest hits for this version; buy it for “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter”, “I’m Henry The VIII, I Am”, “There’s A Kind Of Hush All Over The World”, and “I’m Into Something Good”, a Carole King composition that lifts my heart every time I hear it.

Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For?

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while: I’ve gathered up all the searches done here at KnowYourMusic recently. Maybe we can incite a dialog; I’ll see if I can figure out what you were looking for, and you see if you can figure out what I’m talking about.

What does egbdf mean? — The notes of the musical scale, when written on a musical staff, fall either into the spaces, or onto the lines. In normal melody notation, the spaces are easy to remember — the notes are F, A, C, and E — FACE. The lines, however, aren’t as simple; so throughout history, we’ve come up with endless mnemonics to remember the obscure and arcane pattern of the notes on the lines. The Moody Blues did an album with a common UK version, “Every Good By Deserves Favour.” EGBDF — the notes on the lines of the scale. (This musicblog was once at EGBDF.info.)
  • black sabbaths iron man — In case you didn’t find it, I posted Iron Man back in June.
  • Don Wahlberg — New Kids on the Block? No; that would be Donnie Wahlberg. Probably not here.
  • Little Feat — Closest I came was “Ride of the Tarzana Kid” back on September 1st. But they’ll show up in greater detail eventually.
  • Norah Jones — . . . sigh . . . Norah Jones, indeed. You couldn’t have missed “Come Away with Norah Jones“, also in September.
  • Rising Of The Sea — Anything to do with OB1? If so, tell me more; the clips I’ve heard are very interesting.
  • Steven Oliver — Pleasant relaxing jazz guitar. Not familiar enough to offer a real opinion.
  • Three Two One Let’s Jam — Still one of my favorite entries, “Jumping Japanese Jazz” should fill the bill.
  • Wild Wood Flower — If there were only two folk guitar songs, they would be “Wildwood Flower” and “Under the Double Eagle.” Written by A.P. Carter and originally sung by ‘Mother’ Maybelle Carter, mother of June Carter Cash (Johnny’s wife), this is an eternally beautiful song. I like John Sebastian’s cover on “Tarzana Kid”, but nothing approaches the scratchy old 78 RPM record of Maybelle Carter’s equally scratchy voice and AP’s stunning guitar.
  • 1990 groups — Um; which ones?
  • A Little Touch Of Heaven — Nothing comes to mind. Are there more details?
  • Alison Krause Let Me Touch You Awhile — I love Alison Krauss. Not sure if I’ve heard this one, though, so I’ll have to track it down.
  • alley — As in, “Loading Dock Dark Alley Swing“? Or maybe Stevie Ray Vaughan’s incredible “Tin Pan Alley” from “Couldn’t Stand the Weather.” I’m overdue for a review of a complete SRV album; that was my first, so watch for it sometime soon.
  • Blood On The Tracks — Bob Dylan — Mr. Zimmerman has made numerous appearances, but the most direct was “Shelter from the Storm” in October.
  • boy bands — Nope.
  • i know how he feels — Thank you; he appreciates your concern for his welfare. Wait; isn’t that a song by Reba McIntire? After 30 years, I’m coming into my second ‘country’ period. We’ll see about this one.
  • All Along The Watch Tower — “The Watchtower, All Along
  • Angelo Debarre — Ah; anyone who records Django Reinhardt songs gets my attention. Further investigation is indicated.
  • Coldplay — My daugher Cheyenne has both albums. I’ll get around to these talented guys eventually.
  • granted you one final wish — Would you ask for something like another chance? “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”, whether you mean the song and the album, is one of the pinnacles of modern music; a focal point about which entire genre revolve. If Steve Winwood had never played an instrument, had never recorded another thing, the vocals on this album would secure his place on a very short list of truly great jazz vocalists. On my vacation back in May, I wrote “While I’m Far From Home” about another Traffic tune.
  • Heavy Blinkers – I had never heard of the band. The bio at CDNow sounds intriguing. Have a CD you want to share?
  • homeworld — Yes. As in the group, Yes. First song on “The Ladder”, a wonderful album my oldest son Tristan has tried many times to steal from me. Maybe I’ll buy him his own copy (and maybe he’ll buy me my own copy of the PC game “Homeworld” designed around the song.) This got pretty thorough treatment in “Mountains Come Out of the Sky” back in July.
  • iz — Searching for Iz? “Finding Iz” back in June.
  • limbo song — Chubby Checker. Had the 45 when I was a kid.
  • Michael Nesmith — See “Tropical Campfires” below.
  • Michael Smith — Steve Goodman’s cover of Smith’s “The Dutchman” was more popular than Smith’s version, but Goodman’s tunes “Banana Republics” and “The City of New Orleans” gained wider circulation in the hands of Jimmy Buffett and Arlo Guthrie, respectively. Odd how things work out sometimes.
  • Michelle Branch — Performed ‘Game Of Love’ on Carlos Santana’s newest album “Shaman.” Nice work. Not too familiar with her own music, but I know it’s nice solid listenable stuff.
  • Route 66 — “If You Ever Plan to Motor West” — Well, I plan to motor east on my vacation next week, but this song will be along in multiple versions. They will all be played loud.
  • Tropical Campfires — When granting permission to use their graphics, the official Mike Nesmith website (in the guise of Neffie, the main character in Nez’s book “The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora”) included a link to “Laugh Kills Lonesome“, my review of what I’ve read of the book, and of the marvelous song, “Laugh Kills Lonesome.” Well, almost; they included a link to the home page. So in a day or two, it won’t be there any more. As of right now, this search won’t even find the article, so I’m re-indexing the search engine so folks can find it. I’ve also added what I hope is a really obvious link below the search tool. It’ll probably be with us for a while.

It is my heartfelt desire for this site to become truly interactive. Until recently, I believed I was on a first name basis with both of my readers. Instead, a perusal of the server logs indicates that, over the last month, nearly a thousand different readers have spent an average of thirteen minutes each here at KnowYourMusic. You can’t imagine how exciting that is.

So, tell me about yourself. Who are you? Where are you? What do you like? What am I doing wrong?

Let’s talk.

(If that link doesn’t work for you, you can use the ‘Comment’ link below.)

Raise the Roof

Few pop stars show up in high-tech magazines as icons of what the biz calls ‘branding’, the business of creating a business of recognition. Reading about Moby makes me regret the fact that I never took my show on the road. A genius at branding, Moby has created an entire genre around his funky persona and infectious music. If you don’t own “18“, you should. You haven’t had this much fun in a very long time.

One track I just can’t stop playing is “The Rafters”, as in ‘raising the’ — the vocals are only the strident humming of an emotionally supercharged heart; an old-time spiritual, taken to the extreme. Playing it for my son Tristan just now, I asked him if he’d heard it before. He said, “No, but it’s Moby, right?” The vocals aren’t even a man, let alone the man. Branding. When you hear Moby, you know you’re not hearing someone else. He is a genre. “The Rafters” is pure emotion; pure fun; no think, all feel. Not that the machine is limited; Moby does plenty of intellectual, thought-provoking music. But I’m thrilled by this tune that transcends lyrical limitations and drives right into your heart.

Oh; at least one of you will find this amusing; the nickname isn’t just new millenium chutzpah. His real name is Richard Melville Hall. Melville. As in, Herman, author of, you guessed it, “Moby Dick” — great-great-grand-uncle of the current holder of the title.

I think we should thank the Powers That Be that he didn’t grow up to be a rapper named Great White.

Laugh Kills Lonesome

As a kid, I thought the Monkees were pretty talented. As a teen, I subscribed to the myth that they were just actors, fronting a real band and stealing their glory. Now that I’m old, I know how talented some of them really were, and still are.

I’d love to track down Peter Tork’s LA band “Shoe Suede Blues” some time, but for now, I’m content to listen to as much of Mike Nesmith’s unique approach to music as I can. Imagine Lyle Lovett if he was happy; that’s Mike Nesmith.

Mike Nesmith's 'Tropical Campfires'Tropical Campfires” broke a 13-year fast for Nez, and “Laugh Kills Lonesome” is undoubtedly the best track; possibly his best effort to date, despite my lifelong love for 1970’s “Joanne.” Inspired by the painting by cowboy artist Charlie Russell which graces the album’s cover, the lyrics remind us that laughter is the best medicine. “Their smiles shot out like sunbeams and made the night give in, because laugh kills lonesome every single time.”

True to the album’s moniker, it really is a calypso country tune such as you’d expect to hear sung around a tropical campfire. Bongos and congas vie with acoustic guitars and a cowboy chorus, and amidst it all we’re treated to a guitar solo turning into a piano solo the cries out for Carmen Miranda to dance. You cannot sit still; you cannot not sing along with the chorus; everything about the tune is infectious, and I like the disease.

When you’re in the mood for some fascinating music history, business history, and music business history, dig up all the stories about Nez’s mother inventing Liquid Paper, his subsquent masterminding the origins of music videos, and how the master won the first video Grammy award. Oh; and if you’re in the mood for one of the strangest most fascinating books you’ve ever gotten lost in, order an autographed first edition of “The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora” — I haven’t quite made up my mind yet, but after reading the first seven chapters online free, it’s hard to give up just as we learn about the apparently psychotic mastermind of a subculture pyramid scheme who is somehow threatening the existence of an invisible city and the greatest blues singer of all time.

And he was the quiet Monkee.

Twin Troglodytes

Jimi Hendrix enjoyed putting his spin on other artist’s tunes. His personalization of “Wild Thing” to close his set at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival was, while memorable, hardly unusual for him; but it put him in a select category, to date inhabited only by Hendrix and R.E.M. — artists who have covered Troggs hits.

The Troggs’ 1966 cover of Chip Taylor’s “Wild Thing” is one of the most recognizable recordings of rock music. Always more popular in England than the US, they were not, as is often supposed by less informed programming directors of pop and rock radio, one-hit wonders. Even if we ignore their string of UK hits (not a good idea, but sometimes difficult to avoid due to US radio’s US-centric take on music charts) they had two hits on the US charts, and it was the second, making it to the top 5 in 1968, which was covered by R.E.M. on 1991’s “R.E.M.'s 'Radio Song'Radio Song.”

While “Wild Thing” exemplified the troglodyte persona expected from the band, lead vocalist Reg Presley was adept at crafting sensitive ballads. “Troggs' 'Greatest Hits'Love is All Around“, while not as simple as “Wild Thing” (a feat I wouldn’t want to attempt) has simple lyrics and uncomplicated music. Not yet unusual in rock singles, it sports strings and a polished arrangement not present in the “Radio Song” cover; the arrangement is distinctly 60s and adds to the sweetness of the song. On the heels of its caveman predecessor, learning that this gentle love ballad comes from the Troggs increases its appeal by emphasizing their diversity and talent.