Thursday, February 27, 2003

Phrase Of The Day: "Pheasant Plucking Music"

Yow, I've been added to the roster of Blogcritics, so I guess I oughta write up some stuff instead of just commenting on other peoples' posts... Passing along the news of the upcoming Pearls Before Swine Box Set on Water Records should be first. An Amazon link is even available. Then into the Useless Information archive...

Murphy & I decided to spring for King Crimson tickets, back at the Modjeska again, same as Y2K. Since the 21st Century Schizoid Band hasn't added the USA to its tour itinerary as yet...

And Tempest is coming to some bar in Racine, of all places. The previous time we saw them, it was at Alverno College - a local Catholic women's school - in the basement of a dorm. A fun, interesting and weird evening that was, something like 20 years since I'd last hung out in the basement of a dorm. Really good music, though, very hot electric Celtic folk stuff, electric mandolin, fiddle with a rock and roll spirit that reminded me of the Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span of the early 70's. With a little Tull as well.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I'm trying to decide whether to spend the bucks to go see King Crimson when they visit Milwaukee again next month. Murphy and I went to see them last time they were at the Modjeska, and it was a fine concert. (We previously saw KC at the PAC with Mark-Almond opening in 1974...) But they have so many CD's available at their website that I'd like to order! Such is life.

I need to save up for the four CD Pearls Before Swine box set, too... Called Jewels Were The Stars after a line in "Rocket Man", it's said to contain the albums These Things Too, The Use of Ashes, City of Gold and Beautiful Lies You Could Live In. I'm a tremendous fan of Tom Rapp's music, but if these discs don't overflow with bonus tracks, I'm going to have real problems parting with $60 for that amount of music. Maybe I should try selling some of my spare vinyl copies of these on eBay...

UPDATE There's a total of 21 songs on those four albums not already included on Constructive Melancholy. Awaiting information as to the set's contents...

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

To clarify, I like Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizell, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kinky Friedman, Buffalo Springfield, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Grateful Dead, Byrds, Flying Burrito Bros, Poco, Pure Prairie League, Manassas, Eagles, Randy Travis, Hal Ketchum, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, Derailers... This is not a complete or exhaustive list, obviously. (Not everything by all these people is of uniformly high quality, but the same would be true of my list of Rock Heroes.)

But I wouldn't know Travis Tritt or Faith Hill if they got stuck between my toes. About once a year I tune in a Country radio staion for about 30 seconds. And I saw too much Hee-Haw as a kid to be able to stomach Buck Owens or Roy Clark, as much admirable music as they may have recorded somewhere along the way. The fact that Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen do appreciate the Bakersfield Sound is good enough for me.
I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'
--Bob Newhart

(Thanks to Snargle!)

Myself, I do like country music, but I certainly understand why other folks don't. Early exposure to Johnny Cash and Lefty Frizell gave me a frame of reference when I discovered Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, the Flying Burrito Brothers, etc... The country-rock of the seventies led indirectly to the alt-country of the nineties, and for a brief time there in the eighties, it seemed like mainstream Nashville might embrace some quality singer-songwriters. Turns out to be not quite the case, but guys like Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle still manage to make a living and get new music released on a regular basis. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson probably have more credibility with the alternative rock crowd than Nashville these days. The folk and bluegrass branches seem pretty vibrant lately, too. Country radio sucks, but so does Pop and Rock radio. And ninety per cent of everything is trash, so discovering hidden gems can be challenging if you don't have a map. Heck, there might be some hip-hop or electronica I'd like if I heard it, but I don't have any interest in the search. (OTOH, it may be that I'm too far outside the target demographic for those styles for this to be true...)

Friday, February 14, 2003

Close to a month with no blogging... Life goes on. Wednesday woulda been Aunt Margaret's 95th birthday. Abe Lincoln and one of my nephews (Terry, I think) share the date. And today, yes, Saint Valentine's Day, so I think I'll leave work early and pick up a bouquet of Krispy Kreme doughjobs on the way home...