219. Senor (tales of Yankee power)

“I tend to think of Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) as Mr. Dylan‘s last great pre-Christian moment, though I suppose some of the lyrics suggest he’d already opened the good book at this point – he just wasn’t advertising it yet. Either way, he seems to be alone at a crossroads in the midst of some wasteland with smoke rising off in the distance. But is that Lincoln County or Armageddon? And what’s the difference anyway?” (Philip Random)

BobDylan-1978-live

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220. my spine is the bassline

“I remember getting into a rather intense argument with a fellow DJ at the end of 1983 who insisted that Shriekback’s Care was the album of the year. It wasn’t then, still isn’t now. Shriekback (even with their XTC / Gang of Four lineage) just weren’t that important, the notion of white guys committing full-on to the groove hardly being earth shattering by 1983. Which doesn’t mean Care wasn’t (and still isn’t) a damned fine album, underrated, overlooked, and heavy with all manner of dark and compelling moods and regions, because get the mix right (and perhaps the drugs) and sometimes one’s spine really does become the bassline.” (Philip Random)

221. bankrobber

“I first discovered Bankrobber via Black Market Clash, a compilation of various singles, b-sides, versions etc that came our way toward the end of 1980, perhaps driving home the point that no other outfit in the world mattered more. I mean, consider the evidence. In 1979 and 1980, The Clash release London Calling (two record set), Sandinista (three record set) and Black Market Clash which, as a subsequent CD reissue would prove, was itself just a tip of the iceberg in terms of unreleased stuff. And these non-album ‘rejects’ were often straight up brilliant as Bankrobber’s pumped up dub grooving rather forcibly argues. Hell, I know one guy who seriously considered going into a life of crime based on its simple logic of stealing form the filthy rich but not hurting anybody in the process. Then he sobered up.” (Philip Random)

Clash-1980-airplane

(photo source)

222. price of paradise

“Being a necessary missive from the final Minutemen album, main man D Boon weighing in on that so-called lucky generation of young Americans who didn’t have to go fight in Vietnam, but had older brothers (or cousins or next door neighbours) who did, and so saw all too closely the damage done. But then a pointless van accident can get you any time, as it did D Boon in December 1985, somewhere in the desert. Rest in peace, man. The Minutemen are still the best f***ing band most people have never even heard of.” (Philip Random)

Minutemen-1985-promo

(photo: Naomi Petersen)

 

223. Madame Medusa

“This is UB40 before they lightened up, became banal and sold gazillions of records. This is UB40 when they were still serious contenders, working the dark and delicious dub regions of the late 1970s, early 1980s, unafraid of what lurked there. In the case of Madame Medusa, that meant twelve plus minutes of serious groove that would continue to rock dance floors well into the 1990s – at least it did whenever I was given access to the turntables. What a band! What a loss!” (Philip Random)

UB40-1980-promo

224. don’t worry about the government

“It continues to amaze me that this hit in 1977, the year Punk truly erupted, tore the firmament asunder, tossed multi-dimensional hand grenades up and down the corridors of power and complacency. And Talking Heads were very much part of all that, playing all the relevant clubs, going to all the relevant parties. Except Don’t Worry About the Government isn’t really raucous at all, just a spry ditty about clouds and pine trees and peaches and civil servants and friends, and loved ones. Nothing at all to worry about.” (Philip Random)

TalkingHeads-1977-live

(photo source)

225. cosmic dancer

“Unlike many T-Rex songs, Cosmic Dancer seems to actually be about something, which is that certain something we’ve all been doing since the moment we exited the womb. Not just breathing, crying, shitting, eating … but moving in some sort of graceful accord with the cosmos. Trying to anyway. Noted as yet another T-Rex gem that I missed when it was fresh (easy to do over here in the Americas), but rather stumbled upon at least ten years after the fact, but therein lies the real magic of their sound, I think, particularly the stuff from 1971-73: it defines timelessness.” (Philip Random)

T-Rex-1971-acoustic

226. stratus

“I first heard the groove from Stratus via the main sample from Massive Attack’s rather brilliant Safe From Harm. But Billy Cobham‘s original track roars off in a whole other direction, and blisteringly so. The lead guitar comes care of a guy named Tommy Bolin who was supposed to be the saviour of the instrument in the early-mid-70s … until he hooked up with Deep Purple and eventually OD’ed on heroin. As for Mr. Cobham, I figure if he was a good enough for Miles Davis, he was good enough for all humanity.” (Philip Random)

227. she’s lost control

“I had heard of Joy Division before the big deal suicide – I just hadn’t heard any of the music (sound traveling much slower before the internet). And meanwhile, I was dealing with a close personal suicide of my own, ex-friend James. So I was abundantly clear on one thing: suicide wasn’t cool, wasn’t romantic, wasn’t meaningful, wasn’t anything but a dire, miserable fact. So when word came down that the lead singer of this cool new band had offed himself, I just wasn’t interested, particularly as a sort of cult grew around him. ‘Badfinger had two suicides, so they’re twice as cool,’ I was guilty of saying. And guilt’s the word, because I was wrong. Not about the romanticizing of suicide, but about shrugging off the fierce grace of Joy Division‘s music. Nothing could negate that. Ever.” (Philip Random)

JoyDivision-1979-live